Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has been on record plenty of times expressing his disapproval of the number of night games his Sooners play.
But for this year's season opener, the coach was OK with it.
Stoops said OU's Sept. 1 game at UTEP was originally scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. kick, but that he, Miners coach Mike Price and the two schools' athletic directors agreed to move it to 9:30 p.m. Central to avoid the brutal El Paso, Texas, heat.
“We had an opportunity to go earlier, but El Paso at 1:30 in the afternoon on a turf field, it'll be a 30 or 40 degree difference by the time we play in the evening,” Stoops said. “It would be 130 degrees, at least, on that turf. I get tired of the night games, but Mike Price and I talked, and our ADs are great at listening.
“I think starting the season and coming off two-a-days, for the kids' health, Mike Price and I thought, ‘Let's play late if we can.'”
GRISSOM'S MOVE TO TIGHT END WAS HIS IDEA
Geneo Grissom's move from defensive end to tight end was his idea, Stoops said.
“Geneo came and said, in his heart, he really wanted to try tight end,” Stoops said. “We're always good about our guys, if they really believe strongly in playing a different position, we always have given them the opportunity to see how it goes.
“I haven't been able to see it, but Geneo's a talented guy. Hopefully it's working well.”
Later, when asked about Grissom's character, Stoops praised him.
“He's a great young man,” Stoops said. “He's a really positive young man that we're hoping is going to have a great future. … We do believe he will. He's going to be a guy that really helps us one way or the other, offense or defense, because of his ability.”
Grissom was a third-string DE last season as a redshirt freshman, seeing action in six games.
The 6-foot-4, 247-pound sophomore, who redshirted as a true freshman because of a foot stress fracture, was expected to compete for time in the defensive end rotation this season before suffering the same injury in his other foot. He missed most of the spring because of it.
HURST: JEFFERSON MOVE WAS ABOUT ‘HIS STRENGTH'
Tony Jefferson spent the first two years of his career at Oklahoma playing lots of different roles, from linebacker to nickelback and, late last season, free safety after secondary struggles cost the Sooners in losses to Texas Tech and Baylor.
Last spring, Jefferson's move to free safety became permanent.
“I think that is his strength,” said senior cornerback Demontre Hurst. “Coach Stoops realized that was his strength, that he's better at safety.
“We've been bonding on the same side together, getting a feel for our strengths and weaknesses. It's been fun back there with him. I think he really likes it; he's free and he can do things he wants to do.”
Stoops said: “We'll see what it does. In the end, Tony was very effective up close. We think he can hopefully cover space deep better than we did a year ago. That's what you're hoping for there.”
BOX IS ‘NEVER GONNA LEAVE US'
Oklahoma's defenders took turns wearing the late Austin Box's No. 12 jersey during every game of the 2011 season.
Box would have been a senior, and he died in May 2011, mere months before the season began.
So even though the tradition won't continue in 2012, Hurst said honoring Box was a special feeling and that he'll never be forgotten.
“To honor that name is something we'll never forget in our lifetime,” Hurst said. “A. Box was probably one of the hardest-working dudes we ever met. Unfortunately, he passed away, but he's still in our hearts. We pray about him everyday and he's never gonna leave us.”
STOOPS, JONES WILL GO THROUGH ESPN ‘CAR WASH'
Stoops and senior quarterback Landry Jones will visit the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., Thursday, going through the “car wash,” of the network's programs.