“We try to get better every game,” said pass rusher Eric Striker, who played the William Wallace role in the Sugar Bowl. “That was like the motto. If you don’t get better every game, that’s no progress. So that was our progress. Get better every game. You get a little bit more swagger, the better you do, the little bit more confidence. That’s where that came from.”
Maybe it was a perfect storm of success meeting opportunity. Had the stars not aligned and placed OU in the Sugar Bowl, had the Sooners been assigned Missouri in JerryWorld or Oregon in the Alamodome, maybe the Braveheart attitude doesn’t develop.
But OU got a chance at Alabama, and the SEC, in the SEC’s territorial grounds of New Orleans. And the Sooners sang the song of angry men. Can they stay angry? Can the beating of their heart echo the beating of the drums?
The Sooners can’t play the disrespect card.
“I have a feeling they won’t be calling us the underdogs, but we’ve got to remember that last year no one gave us a chance,” Ndulue said, “and we should keep that mentality going and everything will be good.”
It’s not easy to stay Braveheart. Relaxation usually follows revolution. If it was easy, all teams that find that mystical swagger would keep it.
“You have a chance to carry that from after that game, the way so many of these guys are back,” Stoops said. “They’re projecting that confidence and leadership the way they went through winter and what they’re doing now … it has a chance to carry through the summer to have a great summer and to build for next year. It should anyway.”
That’s Stoops’ job. Keep the hearts brave. Keep the hair ablaze. Keep the boneyard fresh in every Sooner mind.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.