Switzer stories from the 1970-71 days
Here’s the great thing about Barry Switzer. Everytime you talk with him, you hear new stories you’ve never heard before.
Saturday morning, I called Switzer, and he said he was getting dressed to go pick up Steve Owens and go to the funeral home where Jack Mildren’s body lay. Switzer asked if he could call me back on his way to pick up Owens.
Switzer indeed called back, and he started chatting about Mildren and the wishbone, and the next thing you know, he was cussing himself. He had driven to 89th Street in Oklahoma City without stopping to pick up Owens.
But the stories were priceless. Here are three.
1. OU opened the 1971 season with a 30-0 rout of SMU, then went to Pittsburgh and drilled the Panthers 55-29. Back in those days, you could scout opponents, and Texas sent Bill Ellington to Pitt.
Ellington reported back to Darrell Royal. “Best offensive team I’ve ever seen,” Ellington said.
Royal responded, “Including ours?”
“Including ours,” Ellington replied.
2. When OU switched to the wishbone, Switzer said he was worried only about two players. Mildren, I wrote about in the Sunday paper. The other? Greg Pruitt.
Pruitt was a sophomore speedster from Houston who had been playing flanker in the veer. “Everytime he touched the ball that spring, he ran for a touchdown,” Switzer said. “We knew he was a great player.”
But in the wishbone, Pruitt would need to play halfback. “He was having to move to a foreign position,” Switzer said. “We were sticking his (butt) at second-string . It really upset Greg.”
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