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Oklahoma football notebook: Josh Heupel compares 2000, 2012 teams

Heupel quarterbacked a 2000 team that “struggled early and was fortunate enough to find ways to win ball games.” Now, as the Sooners' co-offensive coordinator, the 2012 team is “getting better every week. We've made strides.”
by Jason Kersey Published: October 21, 2012


photo - OU's Aaron Colvin (14) and R.J. Washington (11) get ready to take the field before the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
OU's Aaron Colvin (14) and R.J. Washington (11) get ready to take the field before the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Saturday's home game against Notre Dame is “the most anticipated game since 2000” when Nebraska came to Norman ranked No. 1.

The quarterback on that national championship Oklahoma team, Josh Heupel, is now the Sooners' co-offensive coordinator, and he was asked after Oklahoma's 52-7 rout of Kansas to compare the 2000 team with this year's squad.

“That team in 2000 struggled early and was fortunate enough to find ways to win ball games,” Heupel said. “Got better as the year went along. Got hot. Was highly competitive throughout the year in the way they approached practice every day and how they performed on Saturdays.

“This team, we are getting better every week. We've made strides.”

When Nebraska visited Norman in late October 2000, it was ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, and Oklahoma was second. The Cornhuskers quickly took a 14-0 lead, but Oklahoma scored 24 second-quarter points and added a defensive score in the third to win 31-14.

Saturday's Notre Dame game has a similar feel — late October, top-10 matchup and a traditional power visiting OU.

Plus, the Irish represent one of Heupel's losses he never had an opportunity to avenge. Oklahoma lost 34-31 at Notre Dame in 1999, Stoops' first season as coach and Heupel's junior season, his first as OU's quarterback.

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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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