STILLWATER — Sometimes, good guys come dressed in black. Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach arrived wearing a black shirt and black dress pants for Saturday afternoon's game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. After a quick wardrobe change, he was wearing an orange shirt when he was introduced to the crowd at Boone Pickens Stadium. The standing ovation was so thunderous, you'd have thought Staubach played college ball at OSU rather than at Navy, where he won the 1963 Heisman Trophy. Staubach was a Cowboy later on in life, directing the Dallas Cowboys for 11 seasons before retiring in 1979. He has run a real estate business for the past 30 years and in the process became a close acquaintance of Pickens. Staubach looks 20 years younger than his 65 years and remains what he was as a player — a stud.
The topic at handDuring a pregame interview session with the media masses, Pickens coyly tried to redirect questions toward the subject of OSU. There were a couple of token inquiries, but questions quickly returned to Staubach's heydays. And rightfully so. He's Roger Staubach. After the Q&A, Staubach addressed the OSU team roughly 30 minutes before kickoff. "They probably won't listen to me (and wonder) ‘Who is this old guy in here, anyway?' ” Staubach said with a grin. Doubtful.
A different gameStaubach threw an average of 20-25 passes the season he won the Heisman, which was his junior year. Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell had 35 pass attempts in the first half Saturday against OSU. "I went through a period of time where they had the wishbone and running game,” Staubach said of his college days. "I almost went to Ohio State. They had 3 yards and a cloud of dust back then. I wanted to throw ball in college now, and we did.” But not like today.
Recruiting RogerIt appears Staubach could be used as a pawn in Pickens' attempt to move the OSU-Texas Tech series to Dallas for a two- or four-year period. Pickens reiterated Saturday he believes the series will be played in the Dallas Cowboys' new $1 billion stadium, which is scheduled to open for the 2009 season "There's a good chance we're going to play in that stadium,” Pickens said.
It's a small worldThe more construction that goes on at OSU with athletic facilities, the smaller the playing surface seems to become. When Gallagher-Iba Arena was expanded to more than twice its original size, the court appeared smaller inside the confined arena. With the front portion of the new west end zone stands in place at Boone Pickens Stadium, the football field now seems shorter and more narrow. Part of the charm, and nastiness, of playing the Cowboys in basketball and football is there's no breathing room. Visitors feel smothered, which adds to the importance of good attendance. OSU's rebuilding project isn't just about bricks and mortar. It's also about fan support. Boone Pickens Stadium will seat 60,000 next season (the stands will be completed, but the offices will not). If the facility sat 60,000 this season, Saturday's crowd of 37,850 would have been even more embarrassing than it was with the current capacity of 44,700.
Boone Pickens, left, and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach talk with the media before Saturday's game in Stillwater. By NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN