That old image of Barry Switzer wearing the “Beat Texas” cap surfaced again Tuesday. Hard to get enough of that old-school brazenness in today's politically correct college football landscape, right?
So, would OU coach Bob Stoops ever don that hat, for tradition's sake in the Red River game?
He was asked last year by The Oklahoman and he said no. He was asked Tuesday by a TV reporter, and he had a different answer.
“Nike gives me one, I'll put it on,” he said, adding he'd seen more inappropriate things on anti-Texas gear.
That might only incite Longhorns fans in his vicinity on the sidelines. Stoops says he's successfully learned to tune them out, even though “it's not like they're polite, throwing me flowers.”
Stoops said the ride into the Cotton Bowl, through the Texas State Fair, has always been entertaining.
“You get all kinds of things pointed at you and flexed at you and everything else,” he said. “It's the best. I truly, though, marvel at people. I'm like, ‘Really? I'm on a bus. I can't hear you. I don't know you. I couldn't care less.'
“You worry about people sometimes. It's like, ‘Go do something productive.'”
INTERIOR LINE ADJUSTS TO HABERN'S ABSENCE
Stoops said he was impressed with Gabe Ikard and Stephen Good in their new temp roles at center and left guard, respectively. They'll continue to be in those spots while regular center Ben Habern's broken forearm heals.
Habern is expected to miss at least the next three games. Ball State was a good Texas tune-up for Ikard, a former McGuinness tight end.
“That was obviously useful for me,” Ikard said. “For my snaps and steps at center, that was very valuable for me.”
Stoops was pleased the line allowed no sacks against Ball State — it's given up just two all season — and the Sooners rushed for 210 yards in the game. The Cardinals had just 214 total yards.
STOOPS SHRUGS AT OU SLIDING DOWN POLL
Someone jokingly asked Stoops on Tuesday if the Sooners would fall to No. 4 if they defeat Texas this week. OU defeated Missouri by 10 and dropped to second in the Associated Press poll, behind LSU. A 56-point victory against Ball State resulted in a slip to third, behind Alabama.
Pollsters clearly were compelled by wins by those SEC teams. The Tigers defeated West Virginia on the road. The Tide won at Florida convincingly.
“People are gauging, seeing if someone else plays a tough game,” Stoops said. “That's all OK. That's how it goes.”
He made the point, too, that OU is still first in the coaches' poll — which, unlike the AP poll, is in the BCS formula.
“That matters,” Stoops said of the coaches' balloting. “We'll all see. There's too much football left to be played for all of us to have any concern about that. My total concern is on playing Texas and all of us playing the best we can.”
SOONERS REMEMBER BOX FOR RIVALRY GAME
Austin Box's family has said the Texas game was the late linebacker's favorite on the schedule. The Enid native, who would have been a senior this season, died May 19.
“Growing up in Oklahoma, as a young child, I'm sure it meant a lot to him,” Stoops said. “We'll carry his spirit with us down there. He took a lot of pride in playing in this game.”
A different OU defensive player has worn the No. 12 jersey each week as a tribute to Box. Linebacker Travis Lewis, a senior and native Texan, will likely wear it this week.