NEW ORLEANS – The Sooners arrived at the Sugar Bowl hotel Friday. The Marriott on Canal Street is two blocks from Bourbon Street.
But Bob Stoops isn't worried.
“These young guys could find trouble if they wanted to about anywhere,” Stoops said at a Sugar Bowl press conference at Louis Armstrong International Airport. “Oklahoma City's a big town right up the road from us, and we seem to manage to not do that.
“We haven't been a team that's really had a lot of trouble. So in the end, I'm going to trust ‘em like I always do.”
Here's how much Stoops trusts his troops. He asked captain Gabe Ikard for advice on when to set the curfew the first couple of nights in New Orleans.
“Easiest negotiation I've ever had with coach Stoops,” said Ikard, OU's all-American center.
Ikard wouldn't' reveal his suggestion, but he said Stoops took it readily.
“OK, that'll work,” Ikard said Stoops responded. “He realizes we have a lot of senior leadership on this team … we have a lot of character guys on this team, and this means a lot to them.”
Another captain, cornerback Aaron Colvin, is making his first trip to New Orleans.
“I heard it's a pretty fun place, but we have some dedicated guys on this team,” Colvin said. “It's a 100 percent business trip.
“Yeah, it's nice that we made it to New Orleans. It's a nice city, a beautiful city, but we came here to finish business. That's why I came back for my senior year, to finish business.”
The Sooners have stayed in resorts the last three seasons, in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Grapevine, Texas. Nice places, but not easily accessible to any, uh, action.
“We're gonna be able to have some fun,” Ikard said, “but we've got to make sure everyone knows we're here for one reason, and that's to win a football game.
“We'll enjoy New Orleans. Obviously, coach Stoops, first couple of days we get here gives us a little leniency and expects us to be responsible and as players to represent the university well, stay out of trouble and that's something he's always done.
“He makes it clear as long as the young guys want to have that in the next bowl game and the bowl game after that, they'll stay out of trouble and make curfew or else they'll send you on a Greyhound home.”