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Tony Casillas: Brian Bosworth was a bigger jerk than Johnny Manziel

by Ryan Aber Modified: September 6, 2013 at 9:41 am •  Published: September 5, 2013
Linebacker Brian Bosworth is one of three former Oklahoma players to be listed on the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
Linebacker Brian Bosworth is one of three former Oklahoma players to be listed on the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO

Legendary Sooners coach Barry Switzer made headlines Wednesday when he talked abotu Texas A&M’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

“I wanted to jerk his facemask and I wanted to grab him up and of course you get fired for doing that,” Switzer said. “But in the old days you could get away with it.”

Thursday, on former Sooner Tony Casillas’ radio show on 107.7 The Franchise, Switzer and Casillas sparred about another controversial figure in college football–former Sooner Brian Bosworth.

Casillas and Bosworth were teammates with the Sooners in 1984 and 1985.

“I remember I played with Brian Bosworth and there was a lot of times that I really felt like there had been a situation where either an assistant coach or head coach could’ve filtered him because he was out of hand,” Casillas said. “I understand where you’re going with that but I look back and the guys like that, for me I think he was a bigger jerk than Johnny Manziel. I knew he was.

“He did things. He wasn’t getting arrested but I really felt like there had been a time and place where a guy like him, you should’ve taken his facemask and said, ‘Hey, you’re a cancer to this team and your teammates and, not unimportantly, the coaches (and) the university.”

Switzer disagreed with Casillas’ assessment.

“There was a Brian Bosworth that came to the University of Oklahoma and redshirted. He was a freshman player as a redshirt, which was his sophomore year–freshman eligibility but sophomore year of school–no one knew who the hell he was,” Switzer said. “He was part of an ’84 defense that you were a part of–great defense, won the Big Eight Conference championship. Well, all of the sudden, he makes a name for himself because he wins the Butkus Award, then The Boz is born, the media helped create The Boz.

“Brian Bosworth graduated in three-and-a-half years, he was dean’s list every semester, had a 3.5, started on his masters, never was a DUI, never was drunk, never was arrested, didn’t do drugs, didn’t do anything that reflected on team other than being a great player on the field. But he danced for the media. He said outlandish things.”

In the 1987 Orange Bowl, Bosworth wore a shirt calling the NCAA the “National Communists Against Athletes.”

Casillas said that was one example of the distraction that Bosworth was.

“I didn’t know he was wearing the damn t-shirt during the ballgame,” Switzer said. “I’m watching the game.

“I went and got that TV tape, I called him and said, ‘Brian, I don’t care whether you go pro or not because your (butt) isn’t playing on this team next year. I kicked him off the team, at least publicly. I said you’re through. You might as well make your decision and release it right now that you’re not going to be here next year. You’re going to be in pro football and you’re not playing your senior year for your conduct on the sidelines. Then he comes back begging to me, ‘Please put me back on the team, I want some bargaining chips, to have an opportunity to deal with the (draft).”

Switzer said he allowed Bosworth back on the team before the draft, though they agreed that Bosworth would begin his pro career and not return for his senior season.

“When I finally did see the sideline escapade he put on–that’s what put Brian in trouble,” Switzer said. “It wasn’t ever what he ever did on game day. His game day play was great.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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