Oklahoma sophomore wide receiver Sterling Shepard has often spoken of his father's legacy being an important motivating force.
Just 20 games into his own college football career, Shepard has already tied his dad's eight career touchdown catches, and is three receptions from pulling even in that category, too.
The late Derrick Shepard, a walk-on receiver in the 1980s, caught 76 career passes for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns over his four years.
Sterling Shepard has grabbed 73 career receptions for 969 yards and eight scores.
“That's the first time I've heard that,” Sterling Shepard responded when asked about it after Tuesday's practice. “That's pretty cool. … Hopefully I get him.”
Derrick Shepard, of course, played on teams that didn't pass nearly as much as the present-day Sooners.
“He didn't get to catch the ball that much,” Sterling Shepard said with a smile.
Derrick Shepard was a graduate assistant coach throughout the first couple months of the Bob Stoops era in 1999, but left to take a full-time position at Wyoming. He died of a heart attack at age 35 before he coached a game there, though.
OU ASKING FANS TO ‘CREATE A RUCKUS'
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops fired up fans before the Sooners' 2008 home game against Texas Tech, saying the OU home crowd wasn't known for being very “ruckus.”
Oklahoma fans responded by creating one of the best atmospheres Owen Field has seen in years, and that helped the Sooners rout then-No. 2 Texas Tech 65-21.
Monday, Stoops again asked the fans to come fired up to a home game against an unbeaten Red Raiders squad.
“It'd be awesome if we could recreate that atmosphere, and everybody jump in and do their best to try to affect the game, and, you know, build some excitement and all,” Stoops said. “We've gotta do our part. It's a lot easier to be excited when you're playing well. We've gotta hopefully give them some things to cheer about and jump in the game.”
Now, the OU athletic department is building its pregame promotion material around the phrase “create a ruckus.” The phrase is prominently displayed on SoonerSports.com, and in emails to fans.
LINDLEY MOVES AGAIN, MAKING IMPACT
Oklahoma sophomore P.L. Lindley was recruited as a linebacker, but moved to defensive end early in his college career.
He didn't see much playing time until senior linebacker Corey Nelson's season-ending injury Oct. 5 against TCU. After that, Lindley moved back to linebacker and recovered a fumble in the Sooners' next game against Texas.
Then last weekend at Kansas, Lindley earned his first career start.
“Corey went down, and those are big shoes to fill,” Lindley said. “You can't really fill it with one player; it takes the whole team to fill shoes that big. I'm just kinda doing what I need to do to help the team.”
Lindley has recorded seven tackles so far this season.
RIPKOWSKI'S MINDSET HASN'T CHANGED WITH SCHOLARSHIP
Junior fullback Aaron Ripkowski was a walk-on his first three seasons at Oklahoma, but was awarded a scholarship last December by Stoops.
Ripkowski played a major role in the Sooners' offense during last Saturday's 34-19 victory at Kansas. He frequently lined up at tight end as an extra run blocker.
“I wouldn't say it's any different at all,” Ripkowski said of having a scholarship this season. “I try to approach every day with the same mindset.
“I guess it's more of an impact on my parents than it is me, but I like to know I earned it. It's pretty nice.”
Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, on wide receiver Lacoltan Bester's reverse pass for a touchdown last weekend:
“You know, he was a quarterback in Scooba, Miss., and he always told me he could. But I mean, we all laugh because he never threw it that good in practice. That was by far the best ball he ever threw, so he must be a game player.”