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.