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Oklahoma football: Sooners experience Irish sport

Football trio traveled as part of an upper-division sociology course called “Sport and Culture in Ireland.”
by Berry Tramel and Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey Published: July 24, 2013


Oklahoma football standouts Blake Bell, Gabe Ikard and Trey Millard experienced sports abroad this summer while studying in Ireland.

Along with volleyball senior Morgan Reynolds, the football trio traveled as part of an upper-division sociology course called “Sport and Culture in Ireland.”

Among the biggest takeaways for Ikard and Millard? Most Gaelic Athletic Association athletes aren't paid.

“It was interesting to see guys that play at the highest level, just playing for pride and for country and the love of the game, not monetary reward,” Ikard said.

They even got to try their hand at some traditional Irish sports. Through a company called “Experiencing Gaelic Games,” the Sooners played Gaelic football and hurling — two of the country's most popular sports.

Gaelic football is similar to soccer with a few differences, including the ability to use your hands.

Both Ikard and Millard said hurling, similar to field hockey and lacrosse, was one of the hardest sports they've ever played.

“Hurling is impossible,” Millard said. “I did the Gaelic football and I was a lot better at that one. But the hurling was insanely tough.”


Bob Stoops admitted that if Bell is the OU starting quarterback, the Sooners could turn to a new trigger man for their short-yardage offense.

During Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday, Stoops said there are advantages to using Kendal Thompson or Trevor Knight in a form of the Belldozer, the short-yardage package that's been incredibly successful the last two years with Bell in relief of Landry Jones.

Stoops said he “wouldn't shy away” from using Bell in the Belldozer, if Bell becomes the starting quarterback.

“But you bring up good points,” Stoops said. “In thinking through this, you put Kendal or Trevor back there, they're faster. You've got more options. If they do hit a crease, they're not likely to be caught. It does give him (the starter) a break. And what you're alluding to, allows you not too many hits.”

But Stoops said Bell would be effective, too, even as the starter.

“Going no huddle, snapping it, we'll do that, too,” Stoops said. “I'm not sitting here wanting to tip my hand. Blake is a big, strong, sturdy guy. But we never want our quarterback to take too many hits.”


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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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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