Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Brian Orr provides the tackle of the year

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm •  Published: November 18, 2013

Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer Brian Orr delivered a hit Saturday that showed shades of his football background from the University of Central Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer Brian Orr delivered a hit Saturday that showed shades of his football background from the University of Central Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Brian Orr was a University of Central Oklahoma linebacker  from Okemah who played four years, 1991-94, and started his final three. He had a 200 career tackles for the Bronchos.

Time to change his career statistics. Orr now has 201 tackles.

Orr is the Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who provided the biggest thrills Saturday at Owen Field on a day that was not short of exhilaration.

The Sooners had four touchdown plays that covered at least 50 yards. Kendal Thompson got to play. The Sooner Schooner carried a soldier onto the field for a surprise rendezvous with his family, standing at midfield.

But the biggest seal of approval from the crowd came when Orr, on the sideline as always as part of OU’s security detail, flattened some yahoo had run onto the field.

It was a blindside hit that had the sideline laughing and the crowd roaring.

“I’m surprised he didn’t get flagged for targeting,” said Bob Stoops, who joked about that very thing with an on-field official who saw the same thing.

Gabe Ikard called it his favorite moment in five Sooner seasons.

What’s crazy about the scenario is that the knucklehead got onto the field and danced for what seemed like forever. For some reason, I spotted him just as he ran on. And no one from any side moved. I don’t know if people thought he was part of the program, but it became quite clear that he was not.

For one thing, the hijinks occurred during a video tribute from Oklahoma soldiers in Afghanistan. That, if for no other reason, was reason to tie the goober to the butts of Boomer and Sooner and let him ride the Schooner that way the rest of the day.

The yellow-jacketed security was slow to realize their duty and was slow to corral him when it did. That’s when Orr made his move, sprinting what had to be 30 yards across the field to take out the guy from behind.

One guy in the pressbox declared, “That was unnecessary.”

My heart bleeds as much as the next guy, but not for a screwball like that. “Yeah,” I told my colleague. “Unnecessary, but entirely appropriate.”

The takedown brought back memories of the famed forearm by old Baltimore Colts linebacker Mike Curtis. During an NFL game in the early ’70s, some nut ran onto the field and grabbed the football while the Colt defense was breaking its huddle. Curtis took a few steps over and cold-cocked the guy, putting an end to his attempts at larceny.

Orr seemed about as amused as was Curtis 40 years ago.

Oh, and by the way, the good folks at UCO saw all of this coming.

Here’s what the senior-year biography on Orr said: “Physical player with great tenacity and determination on the field and one of the hardest hitters on the team.”

No holes in that theory.

 

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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