Oklahoma football: Good-bye to a link to the past
My friend Ed Frost — who is your friend, too, since he supplies me with all kinds of great insight and nuggets as an OU historian — wrote me Friday to tell me of the death of Bob Reeds.
I didn’t know Reeds, and there’s no reason for you to have ever heard of him. But he was a great link to the distant, distant past of Sooner football. Reeds was the son of Claude Reeds, OU’s first football all-American.
The days of Barry Switzer are growing more and more distant. Switzer hasn’t coached the Sooners in 24 years; he became head coach 39 years ago and arrived in Norman 46 years ago.
The days of Bud Wilkinson have become the dusty days of history. Wilkinson arrived in Norman 66 years ago, can you believe it?
OU historian Harold Keith arrived as publicist in 1930 and pioneered the vocation. That was 82 years ago.
Claude Reeds was an all-American 17 years before Harold Keith. He played before Owen Field was laid out as a gridiron. He played before World War I. He lettered as a freshman the year that Oklahoma City stole the state seal from Guthrie and became the state capital.
Claude Reeds was an accurate passer — Bennie Owen was an innovative coach, sort of the Sid Gillman or Mike Leach of his day, embracing the forward pass when the sport looked more like rugby — who would could run or throw effectively out of his tailback (shotgun quarterback) position. The OU media guide also says Reeds was “an outstanding punter and was also used at end, where he was an outstanding blocker and equally adept on receptions. During the final game of his career against Colorado, Reeds had one of the greatest runs of his career as he took it 70 yards on a fake punt for a touchdown. Most observers said he must have run at least 200 yards on that play alone as he crisscrossed the field eluding Buffalo tacklers.”
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