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Conclusion of spring practice kicks off the long wait for Sooner fans
Random thoughts, spring game and otherwise, while reminding everyone of the immortal words of Allen Iverson, who said, “We talkin’ ‘bout practice, man. What are we talkin’ about? Practice?”
Spring games ought to be dominated by the defense. They know the offense as well as the offense does — they see it every day in practice. And that’s what we saw in the spring game, for at least as long as it held our interest, which wasn’t all that long.
Personally, I made it about halfway through the third quarter before bailing out. The running clock implemented during the second quarter is the only reason I made it that far. It was just practice, after all.
Looking back, I can’t believe I used to actually go stand around and watch regular practices, when there was public access to such things.
Frankly, I doubt the whole thing would have lasted the two hours that it did if there hadn’t been two hours of Fox Southwest TV time to fill. The most interesting thing may have been the QBs throwing Frisbees to dogs at halftime. That or the final display of the Sugar Bowl trophy at midfield before the game, before putting it away for good and moving forward to 2014.
I was impressed with what the powers that be did to get folks involved in the spring game this year, including having a vote on the field graphics. I think we should use the Oklahoma outline with the OU logo in it at midfield during the season. That looked really, really sharp. But make it like twice as big, or at least bigger than what it was.
I have never really agreed with charging admission, even five bucks, for a glorified practice. But at least this year they instituted a new policy of giving season ticket holders the same number of free spring game tickets as they have season tickets.
I figured the turnout would be bigger than usual this year, but I wasn't thinking 43,000. For the first time in recent memory, it was hard to get a decent parking spot. This reminded me of the old Varsity-Alumni Games, when we used to draw big crowds every year.
I’m not sure why Baker Mayfield decided to leave Texas Tech or, more puzzlingly, why he decided to come to Norman and sit out a season. The kid looked really good — better than any of the other QBs, including Trevor Knight. For all of Kliff Kingsbury’s great moves in his first year at Tech, he really screwed up letting that kid get away.
They should have just given Trey Millard’s No. 33 jersey to newcomer Dimitri Flowers and left it at that. We might not have ever noticed the difference. The kid looks legit, and while a spring game isn’t the time to declare him a prime contributor, I will be quite surprised if we don’t see him filling Millard’s shoes very capably this fall.
More significant was Geneo Grissom’s injury, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. What looked like perhaps a serious knee problem was diagnosed as only a sprained MCL (which is “only” if it’s not your knee, of course) that won’t affect his availability for fall practice.
The highlight of the spring games, and of every spring game ever, anywhere, forever, came from Lincoln, Neb. There, Bo Pelini led his team on the traditional Husker pre-game tunnel walk while cuddling a cat, Dr. Evil-style. He then walked out onto the field and displayed the cat, Lion King-style, to the assembled agricultural implement salesmen and other assorted Nebraskans before the team took the field.
If you're not understanding, check @fauxpelini on Twitter for the back story.
For those who hadn’t heard, there is a major renovation project in the works in Norman — involving both Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center. As far as the hoops arena, no idea what they’re going to do, although I would love to see them just build a completely new arena immediately south of the current place.
As for the football stadium, the renovation won’t be necessarily to add seats, but to improve what’s there. It will certainly include a new press box and attendant suites/club seats on the west side of the stadium. If we’re lucky, that will entail removal and replacement of the entire 70s-era west upper deck.
If we’re really, really lucky, they will do whatever is necessary in the south end zone to bowl it in entirely to match the north end zone. You might even see an upper deck and suites wrapping all the way around the south side of the stadium, so that everything matches for once.
Now that they finally quit rejiggering the schedule for this year, it’s past time to make hotel and flight reservations for the fall. I’m looking forward to going to West Virginia in September, instead of the end of November. Southwest has some reasonable fares from OKC to Pittsburgh for that weekend if you don’t have your travel plans made yet.
In any event, with spring ball over, we are now in the home stretch, albeit a rather long stretch, into the 2014 season. Four and a half months to go.
(This column appears in the 2014 Spring Football Issue of Sooner Spectator. To subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)