ESPN's “College GameDay” might be set up Saturday at the Texas State Fair, but the popular program will also have an Oklahoma flair before the Red River Rivalry game.
Former Sooners basketball star Blake Griffin will be the show's celebrity guest picker, OU said Wednesday. Griffin, who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, perhaps has extra time on his hands because of the NBA lockout.
This week marks the fifth time “GameDay” has done its show from the site of the OU-Texas game. The Sooners are 2-2 in the previous games, winning in 2001 and 2002 and losing in 2008 and 2009.
No. 3 OU and No. 11 UT are both 4-0 entering the 2011 game.
The weekly show airs from 8-9 a.m. on ESPNU and 9-11 a.m. on ESPN. The main set will be located across from the Texas Hall of State inside the fair from 8-10:30 a.m., with the final half-hour from a set on the sidelines inside the Cotton Bowl.
Co-host Erin Andrews and analyst Kirk Herbstreit will appear on the show and also on the nationally televised broadcast on ABC, joining play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger.
Its OU's second “GameDay” experience this year. It won Sept. 17 at Florida State with the crew in Tallahassee.
DEFLECTED PASSES AT LINE AID OU DEFENSE
Sooners defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright says he's always put an emphasis on his linemen deflecting passes, but the 2011 crop might be especially good at it.
Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis both have three pass breakups, and R.J. Washington also has one.
Saturday's game against Ball State was a particularly positive night on the batted-balls front. Lewis had two, nearly intercepting one of the pass attempts himself. Washington and Alexander both had tips that led to two of Tony Jefferson's three interceptions.
The deflections can become infectious.
“The other night, it kind of became a feeding frenzy,” Wright said. “It was like, ‘How many of these can we bat to Tony?'”
TRICK PLAY AWARENESS REQUIRED FOR ‘HORNS
The Sooners have spent a lot of time this week watching video of Texas' gadget plays, a function of new Longhorns and former Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.
For instance, Wright said watching the UT quarterback after a handoff is imperative. If the QB slips into the flat or remains in position for a pitchback, a trick play could be afoot.
That's just one example of what Harsin likes to do. The Sooners, of all teams, should know, considering the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
“They'll have three or four (trick plays),” Wright said. “They have against everybody. We'll coach them and we'll have them ready.”
STOOPS SAYS RRR AFFECTS RECRUITING ‘ONLY MARGINALLY'
With both OU and UT using the state of Texas so much to build their rosters, you have to wonder if the rivalry game plays a part in recruits' decisions.
For one, Sooners coach Bob Stoops doesn't think it's paramount. He's more into the body of work.
“(It affects recruiting) only marginally, I think,” Stoops said. “I think it's what you do the whole season, not just in one game.”
JEFFERSON, KD CONTINUE THEIR TWITTER FUN
After a tongue-in-cheek spat on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, OU's Jefferson and former UT and Thunder hoops star Kevin Durant were at it again Wednesday.
Jefferson asked if Durant would attend this week's game at the Cotton Bowl. Durant said no, but he would be receiving updates.
Jefferson then told Durant he had to follow him if he got an interception against his Longhorns. Durant laughed and agreed.
Stoops offered no updates on the availability of running back Brennan Clay (shoulder) and cornerback Jamell Fleming (head). He continues to say both will play. … OU research concluded this week that Jefferson's three-interception quarter was the first in school history.