The Norman Transcript

OU Football

January 2, 2014

Stoops won’t play underdog card

NEW ORLEANS — The Sooners will enter tonight’s game as at least a 16-point underdog. Players have embraced that role. They were not favored in the Kansas State and Oklahoma State games and won both.

Stoops said the role isn’t something he embraces.

“Not at a place like Oklahoma,” he said. “That isn’t something that we’ve ever … I don’t know how to do that, to be quite honest with you. That’s not one of our motivational methods. So we’re about what do we do right, how do we do things the right way to give ourselves an opportunity to win, and we emphasize that.

“And the other stuff I can’t say that somewhere in the back of some kids’ minds they might not have heard something one too many times and it triggers something. I can’t speak to that. But it’s not a card that I play. I don’t know how to play that card.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose team hasn’t been an underdog since the 2011 national championship, believes a lot about teams can change from the regular season to a bowl game.

“It’s really hard to bring the season to the bowl game because the amount of time in between opportunities to play,” he said. “So how your team sort of resets their mindset is really important to how a team’s going to prepare, how they’re going to focus, how they’re going to play in the game. And to me, sometimes if you’re an underdog, you have a little bit more to prove. So that mindset is a little better maybe than a team that doesn’t have sort of the right motivation going into a game. Because I really do think when you play in a bowl game it’s all about mindset.”

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