NORMAN — Texas' Mack Brown surmised that the pressure in this week's Red River Rivalry game is on his neighbors to the north and not his own team.
No. 3 Oklahoma, he figures, entered the season with lofty expectations. To Brown, his 11th-ranked Longhorns maybe a bit of a surprise at 4-0, they're the upstarts who can't lose even if they lose.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops did not see it quite the same way Tuesday.
“Whatever, if there's pressure on us, I welcome it,” he said during his weekly news conference, when apprised of Brown's thoughts. “We look forward to playing in it. You're more than capable of analyzing their pressure. I'm sure, after all they've been through, there's some pressure on them, too. You can discard it all you want; the pressure's there. Coming into this game, that's what you want. We're excited about it.”
Saturday will be Stoops' 13th time coaching in the rivalry. He's 7-5 against Texas.
He had a good time during his presser Tuesday, regularly wisecracking in response to questions — and particularly those about Texas' fans.
Asked if he would wear a ‘Beat Texas' hat, like the one Barry Switzer wore, Stoops said sure.
“Nike gives me one, I'll put it on,” he said. “I've seen hats with worse things on it.”
Stoops on the bus ride into the Cotton Bowl: “You get all kinds of things pointed at you, flexed at you. It's the best. I'm looking down at these people thinking, ‘I don't know you. I can't hear you.' People are kind of crazy.”
When Oklahoma flirted with the Pacific-12, Stoops mentioned a couple of times that keeping the OU-Texas series was important to him as a reason to remain in the Big 12.
The schools and teams might have a contentious relationship at times, but it is a relationship.
“I think it's fair to say we complement each other really well … but only if it's done properly and harmoniously,” Stoops said. “If it isn't, then it's not necessarily. You have to do what you've got to do and live the way you've got to live. Some things are pretty cut and dried. And then people have got to live with the consequences of that and you move on and find other rivalries and other things to get excited about.”
So, what constitutes proper and harmonious – and what doesn't?
“Good try, but I'm not in those meetings,” he said. “Those are for a lot of people a lot brighter than I am, to handle those issues.”
On injuries to Brennan Clay (shoulder) and Jamell Fleming (head):
“I anticipate everyone playing that played a week ago.” That also includes safety Aaron Colvin, who missed the Ball State game because of lingering effects from a concussion.
On what the Texas game meant to the late Austin Box:
“Growing up in Oklahoma, as a young child, I'm sure it meant a lot to him. We'll carry his spirit with us down there. He took a lot of pride in playing in this game.”
On the Sooners dropping from No. 2 to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, despite scoring 62 points and winning by 56 against Ball State:
“People are gauging, seeing if someone else plays a tough game. That's all OK. That's how it goes. What hasn't been talked about is we are No. 1 in the coaches' poll – and that matters. 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.”
On the Texas State Fair:
“I'm not much for corndogs. I like a regular ballpark hot dog. With mustard."
On how much longer Stoops and Brown will coach together in the game:
“Marriages are hard to keep together ... family fighting and all that."