Sugar Bowl notebook: Jaz Reynolds thanks Bob Stoops

by Berry Tramel and Jason Kersey Published: December 31, 2013

Jaz Reynolds' career comes full circle Thursday night when the Sooners meet Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

The OU senior said Tuesday that the fact that he's even with the team this week is “a blessing.”

“I honestly think that I shouldn't even be here anymore, just because of all the things I put Coach (Bob) Stoops through and put the program through,” Reynolds said. “I'm blessed to be here and have one more season and to finish it out against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and go out with a win.”

Reynolds was redshirted in 2010 after he tweeted insensitive comments regarding a gunman on the University of Texas campus during OU-Texas week.

In 2011, Reynolds was OU's third-leading receiver, catching 41 passes for 715 yards and five touchdowns, but just after spring football in 2012, he was suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules and sat out the entire 2012 season.

“Everyday I just woke up, went to practices, workouts,” Reynolds said. “If I'm a little tired, I could look back and see that I really could be at home with my mom right now. It's a blessing to be out there with my friends and teammates.”

This season, Reynolds has appeared in 11 games with four starts, and caught 12 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.

LSU FANS PRO-OU?

The Sugar Bowl has entered into a contract to annually take Big 12 and SEC champions or representatives. The game gets a year's jump on that arrangement with OU-Alabama on Thursday night.

“I think it's great,” said Stoops. “This is an amazing bowl game. The people here have been incredible. Great facilities, everything about it has been positive.

“When you have to play LSU, it might be a little different, but fortunately this year we don't.”

Stoops was not-so-subtly referring to the Sooners' Sugar Bowl 10 years ago against LSU, which won the national championship with a 21-14 victory.

That LSU team was led by coach Nick Saban, who is now the Alabama coach.

Reminded that the local LSU fans aren't exactly Saban's biggest fans, Stoops said, “Hopefully, we'll get that neutral crowd out there and they can help us a little bit.”

OU GETS PHYSICAL

OU center Gabe Ikard said Sugar Bowl practices have been long and hard, including starters vs. starters.

“We've really gone hard against ones and ones,” Ikard said. “It'll come down to winning the line of scrimmage. It's usually how it shakes out.

“We've had a lot contract in practice. Been very physical. We realize how physical they are on defense. There's really not a way to simulate those guys they have on defense. You gotta do your best in practice to try to simulate that a little bit.”

QUOTABLE

OU cornerback Aaron Colvin: “I wish it could have been a national championship. That's what I really wanted. But I guess this is the next best thing honestly — being able to play in a BCS bowl and against a great team like Alabama. It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting. I just can't wait to play.”

WALKER HELPS 3-4

OU quality control coach Chad Walker was on Saban's staff with the Dolphins and Alabama. He's helped not so much with Bama preparation as with OU's offseason move to the 3-4, a defensive alignment favored by Saban.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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