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Collected Wisdom: Former Sooner linebacker Brian Bosworth

by Berry Tramel Published: December 8, 2012
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/articleid/3736030/1/pictures/1902498">Photo - In this photo from the 1986 Orange Bowl, former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth walks off the field. Oklahoma beat Penn State 25-10. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
In this photo from the 1986 Orange Bowl, former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth walks off the field. Oklahoma beat Penn State 25-10. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO

I think the spread can be defended. Alabama does it well. But it's that one X factor. Even if you play good sound defense, and everybody does their job, no matter what you do, you're not going to have the answer every single play. Before Alabama played A&M, I predicted A&M would upset ‘em, and I predicted Manziel for the Heisman, only because I saw him develop.

That A&M team, when they left the Big 12, everybody wrote them off. They're going to get smashed for 12 straight games. (Kevin) Sumlin took that program that everybody wrote off, and he got everybody to believe, then he brought in the best unpredictable athlete to lead that team. That's how you create magic.

That's kind of the problem I have with Collin Klein, his predictability. He's established this is what we do, this is how we do it, we don't make mistakes, but we're not going to do anything crazy. He's a tough athlete. But I don't think he's anywhere in the same breath with a Johnny Manziel. I want Johnny's unpredictability.

I think Jamelle (Holieway) was a lot like that. Jamelle was a little bit of a wild card. He played in a system where he had to read and feel, be intuitive. He's going to do something unorthodox, and Coach is probably not going to like it. Probably wouldn't work on another team. But because of the personalities we had, with Coach Switzer, ‘Thanks for scoring a touchdown, Boomer Sooner, don't do it again.' Big forgiver.

I love playing against guys like that. It's like a Rubik's cube. You're going to figure it out. It's just a matter of finding his weakness and finding his pattern. Once you get that pattern down, you focus in on it. It's a fine focus. It's a great challenge. Makes football really, really fun.

Your heart beats just a little faster before the ball gets snapped, because you know there's a chance, I don't have him. It's the love of the chase that makes you play.

I have regrets. I let people into my life I shouldn't have let in. Happened later on, that '86 season. I needed a little more humility back in the day. Maybe I'd appreciate it a little bit more.

I was very coachable, but I didn't listen very well. I had to be right. It had to be my way. I had such a dynamic difference between my head coach (Switzer) and my position coach (Gibbs), and because I had the blessing of my head coach, wink,wink, show up on Saturday and be magical, to make sure we not only won the game, but dominated. He enjoyed that.

It grew too wild in my head. I probably drank too much of my own kool-aid. I wish I had not done too much of those things. Calmed some of that down. Letting that outside influence come in, my agent, saying, we're going to take you, you're so big now, on your own, just imagine if I got my hands on you.

I love that school (OU) more than anything I have in my life. I've always thought of myself as a Sooner, and it was always my dream to do what I did. It was my dream come true. Broke my heart that I let them down the way I did. But I gave everything, passion, body, soul. Because the bottom line was, I wanted to win. I wanted to continue the tradition I grew to love. I think they (fans) realized that passion came from a really true place. It wasn't contrived.

My goal was to make our school the absolute best during the time I was there. I remember Picture Day. I'd stand out there for hours, saying, I can't leave a whole line. I gotta sign for everybody. I didn't want to disappoint anybody. That's how I was. I didn't want to disappoint Coach Switzer. So that was my goal. My state and my team and my fans, I think they know that.

Collected Wisdom: Brian Bosworth
by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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