STOOPS STILL EXPECTS PHILLIPS TO PLAY
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Wednesday that he still expects sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Phillips to play in Saturday's game against Texas.
“He's gotten better,” Stoops said. “So, we're expecting him to play and hopefully practice some more here tomorrow. He's making some improvement.”
Phillips, who missed last week's game against TCU with an unspecified injury, was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Jordan Wade.
“Those guys have made significant improvement,” Stoops said of Wade and junior Torrea Peterson. “Chuka (Ndulue) can play in there too some if need be, so you know, those guys are rotating really pretty well in there.”
CLAY DEFENDS NOTRE DAME'S COUNCELL
Oklahoma senior running back Brennan Clay's opinion hasn't changed on the NCAA's new targeting rules, even after being the victim of such a hit two weeks ago at Notre Dame.
“I still feel the same way,” Clay said. “I felt like it was a good hit. It hurt for a little bit, but you know, you get back up. That's football. You're gonna get hit. … It's a physical game. I was a victim of it, but I shook it off and got back in the game.”
The collision occurred when Clay came across the middle on a third-down play. The ball bounced off his hands as Notre Dame linebacker Ben Councell collided with him, helmet-to-helmet.
Councell was ejected from the game and had to sit out the first half of the Irish's next contest against Arizona State.
“I don't think so,” Clay said when asked if Councell should've been ejected. “I mean, especially since he has to miss playing time and all that. That's a little bit too harsh for me. It could be a 15-yarder, but for him to get ejected and not be able to play one of the biggest games they played the whole year, against us? I don't feel like that's justified at all.”
As a freshman in 2010, Clay suffered a concussion after sustaining a big blow to the head from a Florida State defender. He was carried off the field on a stretcher that day.
OU-TEXAS TICKETS CHEAPER THAN USUAL
This year, just like it has been every year since 1941, the Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas is sold out.
In most years, at least in the Stoops and Mack Brown eras, tickets on the secondary market have been either hard to come by or very expensive.
This season, though, with Texas going into the game with a pair of losses and a questionable future for Brown, tickets — at least on the Texas side of the Cotton Bowl — can be had quite reasonably.
Stubhub.com, as of Wednesday afternoon, had 140 tickets available for less than $100. The cheapest tickets are just $75. Face value for the game is $110.
All of those seats are on the Texas side. Tickets on the Oklahoma side of the stadium are significantly more expensive. While there was a single ticket available for face value on the OU side, the cheapest pair was $130 and most tickets were $150 and above.
OU TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Oklahoma has only one official turnover in its last three games, and that came when TCU surprised the Sooners with a third-quarter onside kick last weekend.
The Sooners' offense has taken care of the football remarkably well since Blake Bell became the starting quarterback. Bell has thrown 104 pass attempts without an interception this season.
Dating back to last year, Bell's 120 attempts without an interception ranks as the fifth-longest active streak in the nation.
“Our ball carriers have protected the ball and our quarterback has protected the ball,” said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. “Blake has done a great job and that just comes from his experience, his competitiveness and he's not afraid to tuck the ball and run it or throw it away. We have to continue that. It makes a huge difference.”
Norvell compared the TCU game, which OU won 20-17, to last year's home loss to Kansas State. The Sooners lost that game in large part because of three critical turnovers.
“That's a big credit to our kids understanding and protecting the football,” Norvell said. “It's the same thing that happened to us last year. We were in a tight game and we turned it over and we got beat. We've learned from that, I think, and you have to really credit all over our skills players.”
Blake Bell, on his nerves before his first OU-Texas start:
“I have a little nerves before every game. People always say if you're not nervous, something's wrong.”