Collected Wisdom: Renaldo Works, former Oklahoma tailback who starred in the 2002 OU-Alabama game

by Berry Tramel Published: December 28, 2013
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Renaldo Works was a solid OU tailback from 2000-03. He rushed for 1,554 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career, and caught 46 passes for 413 yards. Works also returned to the university after one season in the NFL, obtaining a bachelor's degree in business/finance and a master's degree in entrepreneurship.

But Works is most remembered for one afternoon in Norman. On Sept. 7, 2002, Works was the hero of OU's 37-27 victory over Alabama. Works hadn't touched the ball when the Sooners took the field, trailing 27-23 with 3:33 left in the game. But Works turned two shovel passes into 23- and 39-yard gains, with a variety of Pac-Man moves, including a hurdle of a Bama defender. Works set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Now Works is a senior land man for Conoco-Phillips, and the Sooners are in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.

How did it happen? Just being ready when they called my name. I wanted to have an opportunity, being nervous, getting my number called, getting a chance to make a play.

I think the defense was probably a little bit tired. Coach (Bob) Stoops was able to pull me in, somebody with fresh legs. They probably thought I was coming in to block. Threw them off a little bit. We hadn't run the shovel play a lot in the past. Only in practice. That probably threw them off. To run it with me was probably a change-up. That caught the defense off. I would like to call it Sooner Magic.

I remember running, but I don't remember the play. It was a play like another to me. Win. That's what I saw. I saw a W. I wanted to score. I wanted us to win. I hate to lose.

I didn't realize how big a deal it was until probably years later. Just to be able to have people wherever I go mention it to me, whenever I was out in the working world or corporate America. At Conoco-Phillips, they would mention the Alabama game. When you're 20 years old, you don't realize how it would impact your life. When I'm negotiating a deal, or just out and about, you have people that will mention that play to me.

OU-Alabama, just super exciting is what I would call it. The battle of the crimsons. Historic programs. Alabama in their own right, a lot of people say they're one of the greatest college teams in history. We have our way of saying we are, too.


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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