PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Oklahoma's defensive players, even with some of their issues in 2011, aren't ready to let go of this “sharks” thing just yet. In fact, at least one member of the self-named group is hopeful the name sticks for generations at OU.
“I feel within myself that we started it, so we're going to finish with it,” junior cornerback Demontre Hurst said. “We didn't have the season that we wanted. We didn't play up to what we thought we were. That's motivation for the spring and next fall. “We're always going to be sharks and scream sharks ‘til we're all out of here. Hopefully it keeps going through the program. We've got to keep that, man. We've got to ride with it. We've got to prove to ourselves that we really are sharks.”
The moniker became a punchline as Oklahoma State was routing the Sooners. The “Jaws” theme, which was sometimes played at Owen Field, was rolled out at Boone Pickens Stadium when OSU built its huge lead.
The Sooners heard. And they noticed when some of the Cowboys mocked the name.
“They kind of got after us on that one,” Hurst said. “They were dominating the game and taking care of their business. They were taunting us.
“But when you put your ego out there like that, you really have to back yourself up. We didn't live up to our expectations. We really have to motivate ourselves.”
BOWL PREP HAS BEEN TIME FOR OU TO ‘GET PHYSICAL'
Offensive tackle Lane Johnson had an interesting take Tuesday as to how bowl practices have been going.
“It's been kind of rugged. Physical,” Johnson said. “We've been banging heads in the weeks leading up to here. We've been banging heads with the defense trying to get ready for this game. It's been physical.”
Johnson, a former junior college quarterback, emerged this year opposite Donald Stephenson when many thought Daryl Williams or Jarvis Jones would eventually win the job.
“It's been crazy going from having nobody know what your name is, to protecting Landry Jones,” Johnson said. “It's kind of like Donald last year. Now I'm in his shoes. It's been weird, but it's been a good experience.”
PETERSON JOINS LIST OF CURRENT, FORMER INJURED SOONERS
Serious injuries have been a theme this fall for both current and former Sooners, it seems.
Ryan Broyles, among others, have been hit with health issues. In the midst of a breakout rookie season in Dallas, DeMarco Murray broke an ankle a couple of weeks ago.
And then, this past weekend, Minnesota star Adrian Peterson tore an ACL and MCL. He'll have to work fiercely to return in even 2012.
“I just saw the highlight of it,” Stoops said Monday. “I haven't talked to him yet, but I'm just sad for him. It's tough. I just hate it for him.
“It's really unfortunate, especially this late in the year.”