With the NBA opening its season this week, I had a chance to talk with TNT broadcasters Doug Collins, Reggie Miller and Marv Albert and ESPN’s Hubie Brown and Jeff Van Gundy about the Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City’s future as a possible NBA site. Here are some of their comments.
Doug Collins: I did the Seattle game last week against the Lakers. So I got a chance to read and see all that was going on. Well, Seattle has two very young talented players in Jeff Green and Durant. Durant, if he can stay healthy, is going to be a star. He’s an offensive machine. This guy is probably going to be in the top 20 in scoring this year.
How will the city respond? Well, first of all Seattle has been a great NBA city through 40 years. Personally, I would hate to see the Sonics leave. I have so many fond memories of the great players and the championships and all that have been through there. The Sonics have a very tough start. I think they have eight of their first 12 are on the road. They have a five-game Eastern swing. So if they get off to a slow start and with all that is going on with this lease and what’s going to happen, it will be interesting to see how the fans in Seattle are going to react. Are are going to support the team? Are they going to say there’s no need for us to go because they’re not going to be here next year. That’s something to watch. Obviously for the first game there against Phoenix on Thursday night, I’m sure will be a great crowd. It will be interesting to see whether they can hold and captivate those people.
For Oklahoma City, I was so impressed. We did a game there last year. But here’s a city that basically knew they had a team for maybe a couple of years. But the support that they gave that team, I think they were reaching out to the NBA and saying, “Hey, look. We can be an NBA city. We can support a team.” And so it’s going to be very interesting because I thought they were very, very good to the Hornets and gave them a homecourt advantage.
Now with the Hornets going back to Louisiana, we’ll see how that plays itself out. With the All-Star game in February, I know there’s a lot of buzz in that city. I hope the fans will get out and really support that team because they are a high-energy, fun team to watch.
Reggie Miller: I think they (the Sonics) are a young team in flux. They got the No. 2 pick in Kevin Durant. They got the No. 5 pick in Jeff Green from Georgetown. Point guard Luke Ridnour, backed up by (Earl) Watson, is a good guard tandem. But I think they are going to take their bumps and bruises early. Kevin Durant needs to get stronger, but the Sonics have a face now — they have an identity. Now the question for (new coach) P.J. Carlesimo is what type of style are they going to be able to play with night in and night out. As for the move, I think the courts are really going to decide that. No one really knows that. I think it’s still somewhat up in the air if they are going to more or not. I know Clay Bennett, the owner, is fighting the city to try to get the Sonics to move. Only time will tell.
Marv Albert: I agree with Doug. Particularly with the wonderful sense of NBA history that Seattle has, I would just hate to see the franchise leave Seattle. But Oklahoma City, I’ve had a chance to do several games there, and they also somewhere along the line should have an NBA franchise because of that kind of support. It’s kind of a college atmosphere with the crowd so enthusiastic. I love the fact that they stand until the Hornets hit their first field goal. They have such passion for basketball. I think we all know that they are waiting in the wings for a franchise somewhere down the line.
Hubie Brown: Well I live in Atlanta so I’m out of the mix in regards to the city suing the team, the team suing the city. Are they going to stay three years? Are they going to stay one year? Well, I just feel from a coaching staff and a players standpoint, that’s sidebar stuff. What they are concerned about is this season. I don’t think that is going to destroy the pysche of a player or a coaching staff because right now they now the contract is for three years period of time.
Now, as far as this team, they have a lot of veteran guys on this team, and then they have a major group of young kids with potential. Now the condition of Green and Durant is very, very critical because you are starting the season with two guys who are in your top rotation who have ankle injuries. This is going to be a team that probably will not make the playoffs, but they are going to be an extremely difficult team to beat in Seattle. They can put out 10 guys with a lot of experience and then two young players who were picked high in the draft and possess an awful lot of talent. But the critical part of their game is going to be their three young centers. Will the centers be able to do the job? We all know that they can put out a number of forwards and with (Wally) Szczerbiak there now that will help them in the scoring department. But then the big key to me will be the two young kids because Durant is going to be an offensive machine in this league as soon as he gets a feel for the individuals who are going to play him on a night-in and night-out basis and then the young fellow up front (Jeff Green) really has a lot of quickness and a lot of talent. As soon as they get healthy and they are on a full blast, this will be a good team to watch. Then what you’re hoping for as a coaching staff when you coach a young team that is coming off a bad season, is to see how well you play from the All-Star break to the end of the year because that will dictate where you are going next year.
Jeff Van Gundy: I think first of all Seattle is such a great basketball city. Going into Key Arena, the enthusiasm when they had their good teams was as good as any team in the league. I feel the same way about the Hornets’ time in Oklahoma. That was like a college atmosphere. I think even opposing teams looked forward to going in there to play. As far as Seattle, they traded two 20-point scorers in Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, so there are a lot of question marks about this year. Who can score the ball consistently? Can (Wally) Szerbiak? Can Delonte West? Can Durant and Jeff Green make up for what they lost scoring wise? And then last year they were a very, very substandard defensive team and so they have P.J. Carlesimo there who obviously has a great background as a defensive coach. Can he get a young team to defend well enough to win on the road? Probably not. As Hubie said your first thing is, how do you win at home. And they’ve got to try to win enough home games. And if they could get to 30 wins this year, it would be a great year for Seattle.
Former OU coach Barry Switzer isn’t showing any favoritism to his former team in his top five rankings as part of the “Grumpy Old Coaches” segment on Fox Sports’ “NFL Sunday.” Switzer doesn’t have OU in his top five, although colleague Jimmy Johnson has them No. 5 and for some reason ranks Oregon No. 1
Here are their rankings:
Switzer: 1.Ohio State; 2. LSU; 3. Oregon; 4. Arizona State; 5. Boston College.
Johnson: 1. Oregon; 2. LSU; 3. Ohio Statel; 4. Arizona State; 5.Oklahoma.
Johnson on leaving Boston College off his list: “Oklahoma would beat BC, Kansas would beat BC, and Missouri would beat BC. There are a lot of teams that could beat them. They don’t deserve to be up there just because they are undefeated.”
Later in the show, Johnson offered his list of the top five things that teams need to win in the NFL today:
5. Non-medaling owner; 4. Strong coordinators; 3. A gym rat QB; 2. A demanding leader; 1. A great talent evaluator.
Co-host Terry Bradshaw on the Vikings use of rookie running back Adrian Peterson: “You only have a 10-year period as a running back so run him. This young man can flat out make a difference in winning and losing. Use him!”
KOCO excited: KOCO-5 is understandably thrilled to have an OSU-OU doubleheader Saturday with Texas at OSU at 2:30 p.m. and Texas A&M at OU at 7 p.m. Wrapped around the games will be plenty of local programming from Stillwater, including a pregame show from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and a postgame show from 6 to 7 p.m., hosted by sports director Mark Rodgers.
ESPN to air Arizona State at Oregon: Through an agreement with the Pac-10 Conference and Fox Sports Net, ESPN has added the conference showdown between undefeated No. 4 Arizona State (AP rankings) and No. 6 Oregon at 5:40 p.m. Saturday to its national television schedule. Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe will call the game. Originally scheduled to be televised in Oregon, Arizona and Southern California, the matchup will be been by a national audience through the agreement of the two networks and the conference. ESPN will show the matchup across the United States except Arizona, Oregon, Southern California and New Mexico where FSN will show the game. ”College GameDay,” 9-11 a.m. Saturday, also will be in Eugene, Ore., for the game.
E:60 stories: The third edition of ESPN’s multi-subject newsmagazine E:60 Tuesday at 6 p.m. Tuesday will tell the story of distance runner Macharia Yuot, one of the 10,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” who survived a 800-mile trek to the refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya while fleeing from war in their country. Yuot, now a U.S. Citizen, will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday in New York in his quest to represent the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics in China. In addition, the program will also include features on the impact of the California wildfire on Ryan Deehan, a star tight end for top-ranked Poway High School in San Diego; an inside look at the Mecca of Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA), a gym in an Iowa town run by former MMA world champion Pat Miletich; and the story of how former logrolling champion J.R. Salzman, was injured in the Iraq War, is attempting a comeback to the sport he loves.
World Series: Although the first two games haven’t been much to talk about, the
Rockies likely will put up a better fight in the rarified air of Coors Field. Games 3-5 are Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Air time is 7 each night.
College football: FSN has two excellent Pac 10 games: No. 9 USC at No. 5 Oregon at 2 p.m. and No. 18 California at No. 7 Arizona State at 9 p.m. In another good SEC contest, KWTV-9 will air No. 9 Florida at No. 20 Georgia at 2:30 p.m. There are only three Big 12 telecasts Saturday: Colorado at Texas Tech, 11 a.m., KOCO-5; Nebraska at No. 17 Texas, 2:30 p.m., KOCO-5; No. 12 Kansas at Texas A&M, 6 p.m., ESPN2.
NFL: Viewers can thank Adrian Peterson for getting to miss the dreadful London Bowl matching the New York Giants and winless Miami. While 62 percent of the nation gets that game, KOKH-25 is part of 10 percent of the nation that will get Philadelphia (2-4) at Minnesota (2-4). New England (7-0) hosts Washington (4-2) in KOKH-25’s second game at 3:15 p.m. Indianapolis (6-0) plays at Carolina (4-2) at noon on KWTV-9. In ESPN’s Monday night game, Denver (3-3) hosts Green Bay (5-1) at 7.
Prep football: Two showdowns will be televised at 7:30 p.m. Friday. In Class 5A, top-ranked Carl Albert hosts No. 2 Guthrie on Cox 7. In Class 3A, No. 1 Clinton hosts No. 5 Tuttle on KSBI-52.
Streamlined NFL draft: Good news for NFL draftniks. The league annou nced this week it is speeding up the draft. Instead of 15 minutes for each pick in Round 1, clubs now will get 10 minutes. In Round 2, the selection time has been shortened from 10 to seven minutes. For rounds 3-7, teams will still get five minutes a pick. The first two rounds will be Saturday, with the final five on Sunday.The 2008 NFL Draft will be April 26-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and televised by NFL Network and ESPN.
Spotlight on Yao Ming: FSN Houston producer Evan Gelber spent a week in China during the NBA off-season gathering materials for an “Under the Lights” special on Rockets center Yao Ming, which will air at 10 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday on FSN Southwest. The 30-minute show follows the Chinese superstar as he returned to his hometown of Shanghai with several other NBA players in July to host the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders event for top high school players in
Asia. Yao also takes viewers on a tour of his hometown, including a surprising look at how the 7-foot-6 larger-than-life figure resides in a small apartment with his parents.
Adrian Peterson got a lot of attention on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” show. Following a feature story by Pam Oliver in which A.D. gave his offensive lineman a lot of kudos and restated his goals of running for 1,800 yards and winning Rookie of the Year, Jimmy Johnson paid him the ultimate compliment by saying he should have been the first pick overall in the draft.
Johnson: “He’s the lead dog. When you talk to people around the league, it’s a consensus that he should have been the first pick in the draft. You hear them say, ‘I knew he was the one. We should have taken him, on and on.’ Victories have a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan.”
Osborne answers questions: Nebraska interim athletic director Tom Osborne was a guest Monday on Barry Switzer and T.J. Rives’ XM Sports Nation, XM 144, radio show. Osborne answered a few questions:
Will you coach Nebraska?
Coaching is a high energy deal and I like to be the offensive coordinator, which requires a lot of film time, although when I speak to (South Carolina coach) Steve Spurrier, he says being actively involved is what makes it fun for him. But I think when you are getting a little older, it’s harder to maintain that pace so the short answer is no I won’t be coaching again.
Will Bill Callahan be fired?
Bill Callahan is the coach right now we will evaluate the situation after the next four games. Bill Callahan is a very hard-working guy and his staff has done a good job recruiting and I like him personally and we’ll have to just wait to make a decision.
Do you miss coaching?
The first few years out of coaching was agonizing, but I have been out out it so long that I’m actually inoculated now, but I do cherish the relationships that I made with the players are still there and they are very important to me. It was intriguing and fascinating like a glorified chess game, the wins and the losses. I really enjoyed the game.
Switzer called Les Miles lucky for going a touchdown in LSU’s win over Auburn.
Switzer: “Any other coach in America would have kicked a field goal and/so he is just a luck, lucky son of a gun.”
Young Gundy imitator: Mike Gundy’s rant against Jenni Carlson has been parodied ad nauseam on youtube and other Web sites. One of the youngest imitators has got to be Matt Holliday’s 3-year-old son Jackson, who made a brief appearance last week on Fox’s “Best Dan Sports Show Period” while the hosts interviewed Matt, the Colorado Rockies star outfielder.
After a clip was shown of Gundy, saying, “I’m a Man. I’m 40. Come after me or one of my assistants,” Holliday was asked if his father, former OSU pitching coach Tom Holliday, would have said something to that regard. Matt said it was possible. He later mentioned his son Jackson goes around saying, “I’m a man. I’m 40.”
In the background, Jackson is playing on the Rockies’ field. The hosts then talk Matt into convincing his son into come on camera. As only a 3-year-old can do, Jackson says in a soft voice: “I’m a man. I’m 40.”
“E:60,” ESPN’s first prime-time newsmagazine, debuts at 6 p.m. Tuesday with three interesting stories. It’s definitely worth a look.
“Ray of Hope” — Last March, just hours before the North Carolina men’s basketball team prepared to play in the NCAA tournament at the Meadowlands, the student who dressed as the team’s mascot was struck by a car as he walked along a New Jersey highway. Jason Ray, 21, died three days later. Ray wanted to be an organ donor and even as his parents agonized at his hospital bedside through the final hours, they decided to honor that request. In “Ray of Hope,” Lisa Salters and Wayne Drehs accompany Ray’s parents as they travel from North Carolina to New Jersey to meet four recipients of their son’s organs and try to come to terms with Jason’s gift.
“Justice Intercepted” — Miami Northwestern High School is the No. 1-ranked high school football team in many national polls. But the 2007 season was almost canceled after an incident last year in which the team’s star running back, then 18, had sex with a 14 year-old freshman in a school bathroom. Though as many as 21 school employees knew about the incident, none reported it to police. Tom Farrey examines how the reputation of a powerhouse football team may have led adults to look the other way. The story includes the first media interview with the girl’s mother.
“Fielder’s Choice” — Cecil Fielder and his young son Prince were inseparable during the years when Cecil was becoming the preeminent slugger in Major League Baseball. But as Prince has grown to become one of the league’s most-celebrated home run hitters, he and his father have become estranged. In an interview with Jeremy Schaap, Cecil Fieder divulges why he is estranged from his son and how, in turn, it has affected his relationship with his grand kids – Prince’s children.
OSU slighted: It’s a shame the K-State at OSU game at 6 p.m. Saturday isn’t being televised. Both teams are 2-1 in the conference and coming off big wins Saturday. The networks often make their TV selections based on a team’s reputation, regardless of who they are playing. For instance, OU’s game at Iowa State at 11:30 a.m. will air on FSN Southwest and Texas travels to Baylor at 11:30 a.m. on Versus. Both games appear to be lopsided affairs. The other two Big 12 telecasts Saturday should be more competitive: Texas Tech at Missouri, 2:30 p.m., KOCO-5; Kansas at Colorado, 4:45 p.m., ESPN. The Oct. 27 telecasts, when OU and OSU are both off, are: Colorado at Texas Tech, 11 a.m., KOCO-5; Nebraska at Texas, 2:30 p.m., KOCO-5; Kansas at Texas A&M, 6 p.m., ESPN2.
Switzer, Johnson rate colleges: Sunday’s edition of “Grumpy Old Coaches” on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” featured discussion of the BCS Standings. Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson gave their top five teams.
Switzer: 1 Ohio State, 2. LSU, 3. Oklahoma, 4. California, 5. Boston College.
Johnson: 1. Oregon, 2 Oklahoma, 3. LSU, 4. Ohio State, 5. Arizona State.
Johnson on undefeated South Florida’s failure to reach his Top 5: “If they beat Rutgers this week, I’ll put South Florida up there. Who is the best team that I’ve seen play? Oregon.Oregon is the best team in the country. Oklahoma is No. 2 and LSU still has got a great team even though they lost. Ohio State hasn’t played anybody and won’t play anybody.”
Switzer: “I got South Florida sixth. Let me tell you, if they beat Rutgers and beat those basketball schools, Louisville and Cincinnati, I might get them up there.”
This week I had an opportunity to chat with Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN/ABC college football analyst. Herbstreit and “College GameDay” will be in Norman on Saturday morning to preview the Missouri-OU game that evening, which will air on FSN Southwest.
Are you surprised Missouri-OU has turned out to be such a big game?
No. In the preseason I felt this would be the preview of the Big 12 championship game. I felt Missouri would be the team to beat in the Big 12 North. Granted, I didn’t think they would be this good at this stage of the season, with the youth they had on defense. I think Chase Daniel is quietly, from a national perspective, putting together a Heisman Trophy type of season as far as the numbers he is putting up. I want to put an asterisk next to that quotation. The defenses that he has seen and competed against, in comparison to what he will see Saturday, are two totally different things. He has been able to move the ball up and down the field against defenses that athletically could not stay on the field with Missouri’s diversified attack, running and throwing. And he’s put up some huge numbers. He, in this game, has a chance to really burst onto the national scene if he is able to continue with the way he has played up to this point against the Oklahoma defense. Much easier said than done. But if he has a solid game and Missouri somehow pulls off an upset, Missouri becomes a story and Chase Daniel becomes a Heisman frontrunner. But as I said that’s a lot easier said than done.
What are your impressions of the Sooners?
Their first three or four games I thought they were playing as well as anybody in the country. While everybody was focusing on LSU and USC, I know on our show Lee (Corso) and I continued to talk about Oklahoma being in that mix. They had been just short of perfect in their first few games — in dominating fashion. And they’re up 24-7 late against Colorado, I think they lost their focus. They let off the accelerator. They made some mistakes on offense, which up to that point had been uncharacteristic.
(Last week against Texas) I thought they got back to getting their confidence back and got back to playing with an attitude in what we saw the first few games. It appears that they’re back up, kind of dusted themselves off and now they’re ready to make a run to get into the mix. And make no mistake, they’re still right in the mix, not only the BCS, but for fans who like to look way ahead, they’re right in the mix for a national title hunt.
Do you expect some of those teams ranked ahead of OU to lose?
Yeah, I think so. There is so much football still to be played this year. They’re going to be upsets. We see them weekly, let alone six weeks. I know people get frustrated with one loss, when you’re spoiled the way it is at Oklahoma, USC, Florida, Ohio State and Texas. It’s discouraging when you have a loss. But if there’s one thing we learned this season and ’07 is that anything that can happen on any given Saturday. And if you just take care of business yourself, you keep doing that and all of sudden you peek back up to see where you are, and you might be surprised where you are in the BCS standings. The BCS standings come out this Sunday. When you’re playing a team like Missouri, it’s only going to help you not only with the Harris and the coaches polls, but also with the infamous computers. If you knock off a Missouri team right now that’s having their way with teams, that’s going to go a long way in affecting where you stand in the first BCS standings. This is a big game on that front.
Did the experts overrate OU’s ability after the Sooners’ easy victories over non-conference teams North Texas, Miami, Utah State and Tulsa?
I guess I look at it this way. When you play teams that are inferior, it’s how you handle those teams, for me, that is more of a barometer. I look at it like there are a lot of teams that play inferior teams, but they do what they have to do to get by. But Oklahoma punished those opponents. I’m always impressed by teams that play those second- and third-tier teams and dominate them. They take their will and kind of kill their will right way and they did that. I think Miami athletically is a pretty good team, and they got after them. Right now they are playing not so great, but people will see athletically that they are a pretty good team. And Texas is still Texas athletically. I don’t know how many more teams Oklahoma will play that are as gifted as Texas. Miami, Texas and this week against Missouri, as far as athletic ability and talent, are probably their biggest challenges until they go to Lubbock to take on that offense that puts up almost 600 yards of offense a game. Plus it’s on the road. This (the Missouri game) is a stumbling block. Going to Texas Tech is their last stumbling block, until they go to the Big 12 championship game. I think that this game Saturday, if you look at the entire picture of their schedule, is a really significant, huge game for where they are trying to go.
What are your impressions of OU quarterback Sam Bradford?
I love that guy. I can’t get over that he’s a freshman, a redshirt freshman out there with the way he makes decisions. He’s blessed with an offensive line that’s just flat out a bunch of bullies. They are physical and they get after it. He’s blessed that he has tailbacks that run with a great deal of passion and anger, they run hard. And then he has got a reat group of receivers. But you still have to go out there and make decisions. And what have they given up? Three sacks on the year. They give him time to throw and he is back there as confident as he can be and making great decisions. Outside of that Colorado second half, I’ve been blown away with this guy and how calm and cool he is, and what a great athlete he is. To get to the Big 12 championship game and into the BCS, you have to have a great defense and a quarterback who is going to make good decisions. Up to this point, we’ve seen Bradford able to do that.
Barry Switzer can talk for hours about football and keep it intersting. That’s why XM Satellite Radio hired him to co-host a talk show with T.J. Rives from 6 to 7:30 a.m. weekdays. That’s why he’s one-half of the “Grumpy Old Coaches” with Jimmy Johnson on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” pregame show. XM is bringing Switzer’s “XM Sports Nation This Morning” show to the Cotton Bowl for special editions 5-8 a.m. Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday. In a conference call Wednesday, Switzer talked about several college football topics, include the OU-Texas game. Here are a few excerpts:
What is your view of the OU-Texas game?
I’ve won in streaks, you know. I’ve beaten Texas — I think I had a run of four or five in a row and been four in a row. And then I’ve gone the other way. I’ve lost three in a row. You know, I know what Mack (Brown) endured on that 0-5 run that he had against Stoops. But then, you know, he turned it around a couple of years. What has he got, two right? So I know how that game goes and I know the pressure of that game. It’s tremendous. It’s important. It’s more important to our alumni and the fans, probably, of Oklahoma than it is Texas.
And you know why I explain that? It’s because I don’t know anybody — I don’t think I’ve met anybody that’s graduated University of Texas that has come north the Red River to make a living. But we have got a lot of our graduates that have left and gone south of the Red River — in Dallas and Houston — around the state of Texas that make a living and that live in those communities. And they’re in social clubs and golf clubs and business and meetings. And it’s very important to us. So there’s tremendous pressure on Oklahoma to win this game every year. I’ve always felt that. And this game is between two teams that have proud history in college football. Both teams suffered last week but yet they’ll go — well this game brings out the best in both squads. They’ll play at a level they haven’t played at yet and it’ll bring out the best in both of them.
And Texas needs to, obviously, find an identity offensively. I don’t know why they’re struggling but they need a running game. And, you know, I’m worried about Mack (Brown) and Colt McCoy because of the concussions. You know, if he plays and gets hurt again — the coaches don’t mark guys ready for duty. Guys are marked ready for duty from the medical staff. He isn’t going to put a kid out there that they say — if the medical staff doesn’t say he’s not ready, no good doctor is going to put his butt on the line. Putting a guy out there because the coach wants him to play, they don’t do that.
And I’m worried about, though, what will happen if the kid gets hurt again and has a concussion in this game and the criticism that’ll be brought on Mack and the Texas program. That’s sometimes not fair but that’s the way it works anyway.
How do you think Sam Bradford will play after a disappointing performance at Colorado?
I think that Sam is obviously an outstanding young talent. He’s played well as anybody thought he could do. Let’s hope this is an aberration, this game at Colorado. The guy was, I can’t remember the numbers (8 of 19 passes for 112 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.) But it was less than 50 percent. Had some drops. It wasn’t quite as accurate as he had been. But he had some coverages, throwing against coverage. And he was harassed a little bit more. But I think this will be a great learning experience for him. He will grow tremendously. You can grow from a loss. And you learn a lot in a loss, probably more — he’ll learn more from this experience — I promise you — than he ever did against Utah State, I promise you. And this will help him. So he’ll be better prepared to play in the future because of this experience he had.
How difficult a thing is it for a first-time quarterback — especially a freshman quarterback — to come into that atmosphere and be able to focus on the game?
Well I think it’s tough at any position. I don’t — especially quarterback, but any position, going down that ramp, playing in an atmosphere that exists because this game does bring out the best in both teams, you know. That’s why people say, “Well forget the records.” This is what makes both programs great because kids go to — they go to both schools to play in this game and this atmosphere. This game I’ve coached in 23 times going down that ramp. And you know, many times we were ranked No. 1 and Texas was ranked No. 1 in this game. And it has national prominence. It’s national television. And the team that won this game won several national championships. So it brings out the best in both but hopefully it’ll bring out the best in Bradford. You know, I said a minute ago that he’ll learn greatly from the
Colorado debacle.And, you know, he will grow and get better but it’s hard on the freshmen playing this game.
I’ve had to play some young guys before. Didn’t bother one, Jamelle Holieway, because he had a great supporting cast. He had great players around him and — in ’85 when he played his first game there and great players on defense. Of course the team that led the nation three years in a row on defense so it was a different — your supporting cast has a lot to do with it. And Bradford has got a good supporting cast.
As part of the buildup for OU-Texas week, FSN Southwest is airing “In My Own Words” specials with former OU star Billy Sims and former Texas star Earl Campbell. The Sims’ special will air again at 10 p.m. Wednesday, and you can catch the Campbell special at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The network also is airing 15-minute updates on the “Red River Rivalry” nightly at 10:30 and a one-hour preview show at 8 p.m. Wednesday (replayed at 9 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday).
Sims’ interview with Dana Larson provided an interesting looked back at his standout football career, which included winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior. Sims, who grew up in Hooks, Texas, said he was all set to play at Baylor until Barry Switzer got involved late and won him over. He said Switzer’s phone called at halftime of an OU game in Colorado sealed the deal. “He told me, ‘We’ve got to finish this butt-kicking; you need to be here.’ As a kid, my head was blown.”
Sims said he was sitting in a math class at OU when a student rushed in to tell him he had won the Heisman. Although he was supposed to go to the SID’s office, he didn’t budge from the class. “We had one of the professors who didn’t like athletes. He didn’t care if I had won the Nobel Prize, I wasn’t leaving that class.”
His favorite memory of the OU-Texas series involved Campbell: “When I saw Earl in 1977 run over two of All-American linebackers who couldn’t stop him from scoring, I was impressed even though I was with OU and he was with Texas and we were friends from our high school days. That’s what OU-Texas is all about.”
Sims beamed when talking about the statue of him OU recently unveiled. “It’s better to me than winning the Heisman Trophy. It’s on display so the whole state of Oklahoma can see it anytime. Just to think some 30 years ago a little ol’ black kid from East Texas would go to Oklahoma and and have a statue put up in his honor. I told coach Switzer, ‘You couldn’t predict that.’”
In the Campbell special, he described the OU-Texas series. “The Oklahoma game is like the Super Bowl. It’s serious business. There’s no smiling, there’s no joking. When you come of that dressing room, there is nothing like it, seeing that much orange and that much red.”
OU-Texas broadcast notes: Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Paul Maguire and Bonnie Bernstein will call the game for ABC. It’s only a regional telecast this year. ABC also will show Iowa at Penn State and N.C. State at Florida State at 2:30 p.m. … The Sports Animal will simulcast pregame shows on Dallas’ KVCE-AM 1160, including Jim Traber and Al Eschbach from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and “Countdown to Kickoff” from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. … KKNG-FM 93.3 personality James Ayers is getting in on the caravan action, broadcasting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Arby’s at 2514 Grant Ave West in Pauls Valley. Jason White will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. … KOCO will have a postgame show from 6 to 7 p.m.