‘He deserved a second chance’: Bob Stoops defends Sooners’ handling of Joe Mixon

Joe Mixon has been the most controversial topic at the Orange Bowl this week.  

At Wednesday’s head coaches press conference, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was asked about the talented redshirt freshman running back who addressed the media for the first time Tuesday since his misdemeanor assault charge for punching a woman in the face and breaking four of her facial bones in a 2014 incident. Stoops defended the school’s handling of Mixon and tried to provide more perspective on OU’s decision to allow him back onto the team.

"It’s a situation that was very unfortunate, and Joe was penalized," Stoops said of the former five-star recruit. "Joe was removed from the team for a year, and we believe as a university that you give people second chances if they can do certain things to grow from it and learn from it.

"There is no excuse, ever, for violence against women at all. But Joe, again, as an 18-year-old, and the circumstances that surrounded it all, that he deserved a second chance, with strict guidelines moving forward, but he’s met all of those. He’s been a really good student. He’s been a great teammate to everybody. So he continues to do the things that the university has set in front of him to do to be given that second chance.

"Hopefully as a young man he can keep growing from it, and if he does, he’ll be a very productive student and person out in the community if he can continue to do that. We believe overall with what we know about Joe that he has the character to do that. Hopefully he can keep doing it. But he’s been a big he’s a spark for the offense. He’s one of those guys that has all the energy — like (OU linebacker) Eric Striker does to the defense, he does to the offense, and it’s natural for him. He just has a lot of fun out there and gets everybody energized and everybody enjoys the way he does it."

Mixon has rushed for 749 yards and seven touchdowns and also caught 25 passes for 345 yards and four more TDs in helping the No. 4 Sooners get to the CFB Playoff.