Oklahoma football notebook: Bob Stoops says center Gabe Ikard will play at West Virginia
The Sooners' do-it-all lineman has been recovering from a head injury. True freshman Ty Darlington receives praise as Ikard's replacement.
STOOPS: IKARD WILL PLAY
Oklahoma junior center Gabe Ikard, who missed last week's win over Baylor with a head injury, has been cleared to play Saturday at West Virginia, coach Bob Stoops said Wednesday.
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Ikard had started every game this season until the Sooners' 42-34 home win against the Bears last weekend.
Ikard warmed up in uniform before the Baylor game, but the team captain returned for the pregame coin toss in street clothes.
True freshman Ty Darlington made his first career start in Ikard's place against Baylor, receiving universal praise for his performance.
ESPN REACHES 12-YEAR DEAL TO TELEVISE BIG 12-SEC BOWL
ESPN reached a 12-year agreement with the Big 12 and SEC to televise the Sugar Bowl, which will pit the two conferences' champions — or, in the event one of the champions is in the new college football playoff field — against one another each year on New Year's Day beginning with the 2014-15 season.
The annual game — previously referred to as the Champions Bowl — will be played in New Orleans, the site of the current Sugar Bowl game.
New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome was chosen over Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as the Champions Bowl's annual site earlier this month.
The Southeastern Conference has long been the destination for the SEC champion, while the Big 12's champion has traditionally gone to Arizona's Fiesta Bowl.
“Given the history of excellence by teams in the SEC and Big 12, we recognized the value in securing long-term rights to the Sugar Bowl,” ESPN President John Skipper said in a news release.
“The matchup will provide college football fans with a memorable way to start the New Year on ESPN's many platforms.”
SHIPP RECOMMENDS ODD COLD-WEATHER REMEDY
If Oklahoma's defensive tackles get cold during Saturday night's game at West Virginia, they'll probably turn to an effective — yet odd — method recommended by position coach Jackie Shipp.
“Coach Shipp has this method of Vaseline,” said senior Casey Walker. “If you put it on real thick it clogs up the pores.”
“I did it at Oklahoma State (last season),” Walker said. “I don't know if I put enough jelly on. I was still cold last year.”