Oklahoma football: Barry Switzer video unveiled
Monday night, I attended the premier of the latest OU football historical video, this one concerning the Barry Switzer years. The time line actually begins in 1964, with Bud Wilkinson’s resignation, and goes to summer 1989, with Switzer’s resignation.
Spencer Tillman, Brian Bosworth, Dewey Selmon and Tony Casillas were in attendance for the premier. Like the first two, this video is a must-have for OU football fans. It’s a little different, though, because this one can make even better use of game highlights. The Bennie Owen video was limited on game action. The Bud Wilkinson video had lots of good video but still not the blanket access available with the Switzer years.
Whereas the Wilkinson video brought to life games and players most of us had mostly read about, the Switzer video returned to life games and players that most of us remember. Here are what I considered the highlights:
* The voices of Gomer Jones and Jim Mackenzie. I don’t remember ever hearing the voices of either coach, but the video includes press conference footage from both. Priceless.
* Some color footage of George Lynn Cross, OU’s president from 1943-68, the man instrumental in hiring Jim Tatum in 1946 and, 20 years later, Jim Mackenzie. Which makes Cross the common link between the launch of the Wilkinson dynasty and the Switzer dynasty.
* Bobby Warmack’s recollection of Mackenzie’s 1966 implementation of off-season conditioning. Warmack estimates the Sooners lost 1,400 pounds as a team. Shades of Howard Schnellenberger, another Kentucky grad, almost 30 years later.
* Highlights of Granville Liggins, the great nose guard of 1965-67, perhaps the most underrated Sooner defender ever.
* A great Warmack story and highlights from the 1966 Bedlam game, when OSU pulled the upset by stuffing Warmack on a late fourth down play in which Warmack did not carry out his assignment.
* Lots of interviews with Chuck Fairbanks from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
* A vintage Steve Owens interview from what had to be the early 1970s. You’ll love Owens’ long hair.
* A great segment on Bob Kalsu, the Sooner star who played for the Buffalo Bills, then was killed in Vietnam. Kalsu was Owens’ commander in ROTC at OU.
* Switzer talking about the inadequacies of the Houston veer, which OU tried to run early in the 1970 season. Included is a great old video clip of Switzer at the chalkboard, circa 1970.
* Fairbanks discussing the decision to move to the wishbone in mid-year 1970. I’ve written about Fairbanks’ late-night phone call to his college coach, Biggie Munn, but it’s great to hear Fairbanks retell the story.
* Remember the classic story of the OU coaching staff going around town in drag, from one coach’s house to the next? Someone shot home movies of it, and it’s in the video. Jimmy Johnson and Fairbanks, included, dressed up like women. You can’t make this stuff up.
* A Switzer press conference before his first season, 1973. You will be stunned at how young Switzer looks. Which he was.
* A video breakdown of Joe Washington’s famed punt return against Southern Cal. Included is up-close footage of something I never knew but is clearly shown and Washington talks about: a USC chaser literally pulled Washington’s mouthpiece off his facemask.
* Washington telling the story of his silver shoes and where they first were painted. In the bathroom just before kickoff.
* Great highlights of some of Washington’s greatest plays — the Houdini act punt return against OSU in 1974, the 79-yard run against Missouri in ’75. Alas, some of Washington’s greatest plays aren’t included, like his 1973 halfback pass against Texas and his 1975 quick kick against Texas.
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