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Oklahoma football: Remembering Steve Davis, the 'kid who gets the last scholarship' and becomes a winner

STEVE DAVIS 1952-2013 — Teammates recall how a player who ate, slept and breathed Oklahoma football became one of the Sooners' greatest winners.
By MIKE BALDWIN Published: March 18, 2013

/articleid/3767200/1/pictures/1984265">Photo - A Sooners fan, Steve Davis and Dean Blevins celebrate the Sooners' 1976 Orange Bowl victory. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
A Sooners fan, Steve Davis and Dean Blevins celebrate the Sooners' 1976 Orange Bowl victory. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO

Davis won so many games the one defeat stands out, a 23-3 setback to Kansas at Owen Field in 1975 which snapped a 28-game winning streak.

“People said, ‘Steve, the boos weren't that bad,'” Davis told The Oklahoman a few years ago. “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 also was a defining moment for our team. We made a conscientious effort that for the rest of the way, we were playing for us.”

It turned out to be the only loss of Davis' career.

The only other blemish was a 7-7 tie against USC in Davis' second career start in 1973.

Offensive tackle Karl Baldischwiler, who played nine NFL seasons, arrived on campus late in Davis' career but instantly discovered why the Sooners usually won when Davis ran the offense.

“He was like a little general,” Baldischwiler said. “That was his strong suit other than his athletic ability. He was all business, a great leader in the huddle. He was great at getting everybody calmed down and getting them to do exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Washington said Davis' winning demeanor can be traced to his Sallisaw roots.

“He understood what it meant to wear that crimson and cream,” Washington said. “He grew up watching Bobby Warmack. He wanted to walk like Bobby Warmack. He wanted to look like Bobby Warmack.

“When you have a kid that eats, breathes and sleeps Oklahoma like he did, you're going to get a player that lays everything on the line for you.”

Hughes maintains the best team during the mid-1970s was the non-national championship team Davis directed in 1973 his first season as a starter.

“He came in the same year as Barry (Switzer debuted as head coach),” Hughes said. “Both of their rises to the top was really amazing. It was a magical run, pretty unbelievable.”


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