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3-2-1-30: Thirty last-minute notes and observations, 30 minutes before the opener

by Jason Kersey Published: September 1, 2012
Coach Bob Stoops chuckled when a renamed "Bob Stoops Press Box" was suggested Monday. "That would be ironic, wouldn't it?" he replied. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
Coach Bob Stoops chuckled when a renamed "Bob Stoops Press Box" was suggested Monday. "That would be ironic, wouldn't it?" he replied. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
EL PASO, Texas — Here are 30 last-minute thoughts, observations and notes, 30 minutes before OU’s season opener kicks off against UTEP at Sun Bowl Stadium.

30. Sun Bowl Stadium is really cool. This is my first time here, and I’m really impressed with the overall scene here.

29. I’m thinking Brannon Green and Taylor McNamara will probably split time pretty evenly at tight end. Each have things they need to work on, and this is a good time to get better against real competition.

28. You think Austin Haywood is kicking himself right now? He would without question be the man at tight end if he could’ve gotten along with coaches.

27. What do you think it’d be like to live in that little community of houses just northeast of the stadium, in the mountains?

26. OU is 2-0 all-time against UTEP, beating the Miners 55-14 in 2000 to kickstart their national championship run, and then 68-0 in 2002.

25. It’ll be interesting to see how the punters do. UTEP’s Ian Campbell is among the best in the nation, but he also kicks in higher altitude for his home games. Wonder how Tress Way will do tonight?

24. But I doubt he has to punt much. I’ll be shocked if he punts more than two or three times all night.

23. It’s still really hot in El Paso, even at 8 p.m. local time.

22. That said, I bet the Pride of Oklahoma marching band is burning up in those uniforms.

21. Penn State transfer Justin Brown, a senior receiver, made a slick one-handed catch during warm-ups.

20. I bet Brown catches at least one touchdown tonight.

19. Do you think Bob Stoops has ever been more eager to reach a season-opening game? After the offseason they’ve had, I’m sure this game is a bigger relief than it usually is.

18. On second thought, I bet the 2006 opener (a few weeks after the Rhett Bomar saga) was a bigger relief.

17. I’ll be interested to see how often OU’s defense plays in any set other than a 4-2-5. I’ll bet it’s not much, if at all.

16. Noted Sooners fan Jim Ross has been hanging out on the sideline for about an hour. He’s in a black cowboy hat.

15. We’re 30 minutes from kickoff, and UTEP is still not wearing shoulder pads.

14. Here’s a first for OU fans: Watching the Sooners play with a clear view of the lights of Mexico.

13. When I pulled up to Sun Bowl Stadium, I got a text from my cell phone carrier that was just to let me  know about international charges. I sure hope they don’t think I’m in Mexico right now.

12. My partner, Stephanie Kuzydym, just got the same text a few hours after we got here. Seriously, I better not be paying 50 cents per text.

11. Still a whole, whole lot of empty seats 30 minutes before kickoff. After the way Mike Price and some other El Paso natives talked, I was expecting a bigger crowd. Oh well, there’s a half-hour.

10. What are the odds Drew Allen quarterbacks most, if not all, of the fourth quarter? I’d say there’s a decent chance of it.

9. How many touchdowns will be Belldozer account for tonight? I’ll say one.

8. Kicker Michael Hunnicutt and Daniel Franklin, his long snapper, are sitting together on the bench and have been for a while.

7. True freshmen who were in uniform, warming up: Ty Darlington, Sam Grant, Trevor Knight, Trey Metoyer, Taylor McNamara, Durron Neal, Alex Ross, Sterling Shepard, and Gary Simon.

6. UTEP fans make up, by my best guess, 65-70 percent of the crowd that’s here now.

5. I’m predicting Damien Williams will be the Sooners’ leading rusher and it might not be close.

4. OU’s secondary will give up at least one big play.

3. Is five carries for Trey Millard too few for a prediction?

2. After what Oklahoma State and West Virginia did to their opening opponents, does OU have to be equally impressive tonight?

1. Mike Stoops seemed loose on the sideline, waving to people in the crowd that he knew. Wonder how long that’ll last?

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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