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Berry Tramel  


Oklahoma football: Shades of 1957

by Berry Tramel Modified: October 18, 2013 at 10:40 am •  Published: October 18, 2013

In this Oklahoma football season of 2013, we’ve done a lot of talking about 1957. That’s what happens in a year in which the Sooners play Notre Dame.

But it was Texas, not Notre Dame, that brought the latest reference to 1957. Our old friend, Ed Frost, who I often will quote on the blog, wrote a great piece that I thought I would share. A quick bio on Ed. He grew up in Hobart, went to OU, became a Russian language professor and spent many years as a faculty member at Alabama.

Here’s what Ed wrote:

“Some thoughts about Texas this year and Notre Dame in 1957:  Each had lost twice coming into its game with OU, Texas to BYU and Ole Miss, and Notre Dame to Navy and Michigan State.  Neither Texas nor Notre Dame was highly regarded. Each was a big underdog to Oklahoma.  Each had suffered an embarrassing loss to OU the previous year, Texas 63-21 and Notre Dame 40-0.  Not to make too much of the parallels, which are imperfect but struck me as interesting.

“I don’t see why people are shocked at the Texas loss.  Notre Dame in ’57, yes.  When you’ve won that many in a row, it seems like it will never end, and certainly not to an average team.

“But Texas this year was a different situation.  OU was undefeated, but having won five  in a row, not 47.   Texas was out to make up for three losses in a row, two by very lopsided margins.  The media were full of things  made to order for the Texas bulletin board — Brennan Clay’s looking forward to finishing his career 4-0 vs. Texas, Stoops’ chance to gain his 10th win over Texas, giving him more wins over UT than any other coach in OU history, the idea that Case McCoy would have no chance against OU, etc.

“ The idea, on the other hand, that Texas could win the conference, however crazy that seemed after its first two games of the year.  Texas does have material, and pride, and it was tired of being laughed at and getting kicked around by OU, and it was tired of having people laugh at its coach.  Texas had some great psychological advantages and took advantage of them.  OU, on the other hand, was faced with the problem of human nature in the form of complacency and overconfidence.  OU just learned a painful lesson.  At least, it is to be hoped it did.  Why is it so surprising that OU lost to Texas?  It shouldn’t be.  You go down there and play ‘em enough, and you’re going to lose some.  We’ve known all year that defending up the middle could be a problem, and it was.  We were fighting more than a subpar passing  game.  We were up against all sorts of things, and they caught up with us.  We lost.  It shouldn’t be a shock.

“It sometimes boils down to ‘want-to.’ In 1957, Notre Dame had the ‘want to.’ And in 2013, Texas had it more than we did. It happens.”

Great historical perspective by Ed. I don’t know if I agree about the want-to. Looked to me like Texas just made more plays, especially in the passing game. Want-to manifests itself more in the run game than in the pass game. In the run game, OU was the equal of Texas. I don’t know what want-to has to do with Blake Bell and Case McCoy. But eithar way, great stuff from Ed.