Sooners Anxious for Miami

Gerald McCoy

The Oklahoma players and coaches are trying to curb their anticipation for the BCS National Championship Game by taking things day-by-day.

There is a definite buzz in Norman for Jan. 8.

And the players are starting to feel it.

"Yeah, I mean, we haven't played in a while," said sophomore defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. "We were just playing every week, and it's kind of, sitting back. It's time to play a game. We're ready."

Junior right tackle Trent Williams is just as pumped to get to South Beach for the BCS National Championship Game against Florida.

"I'm excited," Williams said. "It's my first time [to go to Miami], so I'm really excited."

But OU head coach Bob Stoops and the rest of the coaching staff are focusing one day at a time, with the title game just over a week away.

"I believe [they are anxious], but I don't know," Stoops said. "I say it a lot. Everything has it's time, and they're spending their time here in a good way, and they understand that will come.

And it will likely only come in a good way with the right preparations before the trip.

"I think they're anxious to get on the plane and see things, but they have had a terrific attitude in regards to practice and preparation," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

That attitude is especially important in preparation, especially since the Sooners will be attacking a team as fast and athletic as Florida.

"You would expect to be disappointed if it were any other way, but they're really looking forward to the challenge of playing," Venables said. "But they recognize that we need some more time to get ready. Again, [Florida's] a terrific, terrific team, and that's just won the National Championship, and we will have to play a great game."

Besides the fact of the atmosphere and the competitive squad the Sooners will face, there is even an extra reason for the buzz among the team.

This is the first time any of the members of the current Sooner team have been in the BCS Title game.

But Stoops said he really hasn't addressed that much yet.

"I haven't told them [much about it] yet," Stoops said. "It's a little too far out. To me, right now, it's getting prepared to play and when we do have to play, it's focus on what wins for you. You know, don't make it—you can't get too emotional. You can't think you're going to be Superman and do things you're not supposed to do, whether it be in the offense or defense. Do what you're trained to do and do it as hard as you can."

Venables said Stoops has done a good job reinforcing that, especially with a group that is set to play in the biggest game, by far, in their young careers.

"What you love about them, they don't get overwhelmed about it," Venables said. "You know, they're excited about it and certainly naïve, and that's probably to their benefit, but again I think Coach Stoops has done a great job [stressing] you don't have to be Superman. You've got to do what you're responsible for and do it really well and play with great effort, and if you do that, you'll be fine."

A little anxiety never hurt anyone and definitely not a determined group of individuals like this year's Sooner squad.

"[Coach] just keeps preaching work hard and, you know, get better, don't lighten up," Williams said.

SoonersIllustrated.com Recommended Stories