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Spring football eases pain
Desert drive brings football hope
We were somewhere on the edge of the desert, east of Tucson, fleeing the McKale Center and a stinker of a hoops finale, when the realization began to take hold â€” now it was football season. Or, at least, spring football season. For as much as I like hoops, no matter how many phone calls the coaches make, Iâ€™m a football guy. Spring ball almost isnâ€™t fair, though, because it just gives you a taste of what you crave, and then takes it away from you again for five more months.
The big spring question, although it wonâ€™t be answered in the spring, is the identity of the new QB. Iâ€™m no expert on the subject anyway, mind you, but even after watching the scrimmages this spring, I donâ€™t know whoâ€™s going to take the first snap this fall. Whoever it is, hopefully that first snap will not be over his head, a sentiment you will understand if you have been out to watch the Sooners scrimmage at all over the past few weeks.
My sentimental favorite is Paul Thompson, just because this is his fourth year and heâ€™s done everything that you could have asked for the team. Heâ€™s barely played in three years, and itâ€™s his turn. Unfortunately, that doesnâ€™t get him the job, because Tommy Grady and Rhett Bomar arenâ€™t going to just let him have it. Ultimately, we have to trust that Coach Stoops and the staff will choose the right guy.
If not, of course, there are still a couple of damn good quarterbacks available.
On the defensive side, the return of Dusty D. has been something to see this spring. Heâ€™s been playing like a man with something to prove â€” which I suppose he is, which probably explains it right there. I canâ€™t wait to see him back on the field in September, and I hope he has really cleaned his personal problems up and stays on the straight and narrow.
This season should be pretty interesting and exciting, since we get to see a lot of young guys with their chance to step to the front and make their marks on the program. We havenâ€™t lost a regular-season game since 2002. No telling whether that streak continues or not. No telling about a lot of things, which makes everything that much more fun. Itâ€™s 20 weeks to the day from the spring game to kickoff against TCU. I imagine itâ€™ll feel more like 20 years waiting for it.
That drive from Tucson when I started thinking about football wasnâ€™t as bad as it might have been, considering what we have coming back next season, hoops-wise. With the guys we have coming in and everyone back but Johnnie Gilbert and Jaison Williams, we ought to be better than we were this season, and we were pretty good already.
Besides, it wasnâ€™t like I expected us to come out of Tucson into the Sweet 16. I have been to Tucson four times to watch the Sooners play â€” three times for the NCAA hoops tourney and once for the Copper Bowl â€” and all were trips filled with doom and failure.
That whole Copper Bowl thing was a miasma of doom-struck misadventure, anyway. What was the point of going out to the desert and freezing our butts off only to get our heads bashed in by a gang of recalcitrant Mormons?
Almost as bad was watching the Sooner cagers get whooped by yet another gang of recalcitrant Mormons, this one led by a 7-foot tall Australian dork with a bad haircut, who was apparently listed as 9-feet tall in our scouting report, since thatâ€™s how we played against him.
Of course, if you canâ€™t hit an unguarded 12-footer, you ainâ€™t gonna get far anyway. But hoops are for next fall. Itâ€™s football until then.
Oh, and you probably have noticed that this column graces a new publication, Sooner Spectator. Iâ€™d like to say they lured me away with a big signing bonus, but that wasnâ€™t the case. No, it was the chance to get back to writing a column for you folks after every game. After all, what rational person wouldnâ€™t miss staying up until three in the morning after a night game pounding out something that will hopefully not be complete drivel between attacks of incipient narcolepsy while fighting a 7 a.m. Sunday morning deadline?
It was that, and the chance to write for what should quickly be recognized as the finest Sooner publication around, that brought me to Sooner Spectator. This column is on the back page, so unless you skipped over and read this first (which I know some of you did), you have already seen what I am talking about. So tell your friends, and buy a subscription, and all of that, so that I can continue to spend the wee hours of fall Sunday mornings writing columns.
(The Road Warrior is your typical OU fan in the stands. OK, maybe not so typical, since he's been in the stands at every Sooner football game, home and away, for 167 consecutive games, dating back to October 12, 1991. His views will appear in each issue of Sooner Spectator. You can reach the Road Warrior via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)