Oklahoma football: How will Sooners use their downtime before late-night UTEP kickoff?

Saturday's season opener in El Paso doesn't start until 9:30 p.m. Central. That leaves the Sooners all day to get ready to play football — and that's exactly what R.J. Washington expects to be doing.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Staff Writer skuzydym@opubco.com Published: August 30, 2012

— Oklahoma defensive end R.J. Washington raised his right eyebrow at the question.

Were we crazy? What is he going to do all day Saturday while the Sooners wait to play UTEP?

Get ready for to play football, that's what.

“What do you mean ‘to pass all that time'?” Washington said. “We'll be in meetings all day. It's not like we're just sitting in the hotel. You're not. You've got meetings, probably some more meetings, some walk-through, some more meetings.”

Saturday won't be a typical opening day for OU football fans or players. A 9:30 p.m. Central kickoff on the road is anything but typical for OU.

That's bedtime for some of the Sooners. Just check their Twitter feeds.

By that time, fans will have been able to watch at least three full football games and fire up their grill several times for meals.

So what do players, coaches and staff do with such a late kickoff?

According to the players, it's business as usual. But there are a couple inevitable changes.

The Sooners will arrive in El Paso on Friday night and stay in a hotel near the airport — within walking distance of a steakhouse and with a view of the Franklin Mountains.

They'll try to sleep through the night, but junior Corey Nelson said falling asleep and staying asleep will be the two biggest challenges.

“ ... You're thinking about the game and the plays you're going to make out on the field,” Nelson said. “You're going through your reads and through what you need to do before the play even starts.

“It's just a lot that's running through your head while you're trying to sleep and it's kind of hard. You have to wake up early to prepare mentally for it so it's kind of a little bit of both worlds.”

There's not much to do around the team's hotel, according to a hotel staffer who actually chuckled at the question. Food. That's about it.

The Sooners' Saturday schedule does include team meals — breakfast, lunch and a pregame meal of some type of protein and fruits and vegetables.

Continue reading this story on the...