Collected wisdom: Steve Davis, former Oklahoma quarterback

Steve Davis started at Oklahoma from 1973-75, Barry Switzer's first three seasons as head coach. His second career start — a 7-7 tie at USC — and a stunning 23-3 home loss to Kansas two years later were the only blemishes on Davis' 32-1-1 career record.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 29, 2012
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photo - COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 1976 ORANGE BOWL -- SOONER QB STEVE DAVIS, CENTER, AND AN OU FAN START CELEBRATING AS TIME RUNS OUT WHILE A SMILING TEAMMATE, DEAN BLEVINS, LOOKS ON
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 1976 ORANGE BOWL -- SOONER QB STEVE DAVIS, CENTER, AND AN OU FAN START CELEBRATING AS TIME RUNS OUT WHILE A SMILING TEAMMATE, DEAN BLEVINS, LOOKS ON

In 1971, my freshman year, they recruited eight quarterbacks. Freshmen still weren't eligible for varsity then. The first day of practice, they told us, ‘You're gonna go in and see the depth chart. Don't read too much into it.'

I went into the dressing room, and I'm the eighth quarterback. Larry McBroom became one of my good friends, but he was No. 7, and he was hurt. He'd just had shoulder surgery. He couldn't even practice.

I told my dad that night, ‘Well, the good news is, I'll be moving up on that depth chart pretty soon. I know it.'

The things that football teaches, you can never learn in a classroom or any other environment. Teamwork, cooperation, setting goals, dedication, perseverance. They are lessons that will stick with you forever and ever. They will come back and serve you well in business, in life, in marriage. In virtually every aspect of your life.

Through the middle of my senior season, we struggled offensively, I struggled because I was trying to force the ball to Joe Washington. I felt the pressure of trying to get the ball into Joe's hands. He was our big hitter. He was a guy that could make big plays.

Defenses were recognizing that they didn't want Joe Washington carrying the ball, and they did everything they possibly could to take the pitch opportunity away from us. They wanted either the fullback or the quarterback to beat them. It created a pressure environment where I think I played my poorest football over a very short stretch of games.

The Kansas loss was absolutely the lowest, poorest performance of my career at Oklahoma.

I contemplated going to Switzer and telling him to take me out of the ballgame because I was so defeated.

People said, ‘Steve, the boos weren't that bad.' Well, it was bad enough for my parents to hear it. It was bad enough for the entire team to hear it. It was very painful, and I remember shaking my fist at them. It was a defiant moment on my part, but it was also a defining moment for our team and for me personally.

We made a conscientious effort that for the rest of the way, we were playing for us. We're not going to be defined by the people that were the boo birds, and the people who were sitting up there judging us. We were going to create our own destiny.

The Kansas loss was one of the greatest lessons that athletics ever gave me.

Read the outtakes from the Collected Wisdom of Steve Davis.


by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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