The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

December 22, 2013

Sugar Bowl is also opportunity to impress NFL scouts

NORMAN — Motivation for bowl games comes in a variety of forms. Oklahoma seems to have a buffet at its disposal as it prepares to face No. 3 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

That’s good for the Sooners. They’re entering this game as a two-touchdown underdog. They’ll latch onto any extra incentive they can find. One No. 11 OU found quickly after the bowl announcement involved the future.

Just about all of its seniors at least aspire to play in the NFL. Some will, but a good showing against a Crimson Tide team stocked with future pros presents the chance to leave a quality impression with NFL decision makers.

“This is what you call a money game for a player,” OU center Gabe Ikard said. “It’s one of those things where you can show your ability against the best competition you can play. That’s important for some of the seniors we have on the field. There will be great matchups all over the field and it’s up to us to execute well and go out there and earn some more respect and for the seniors, earn some cash.”

The NFL draft and the process that begins in February always looms over bowl games. No matter how much coaches want players’ focus on the last game, the mind can’t help but wander.

The negative can be a team full of upperclassmen more worried about the draft process than that last game.

The positive can be a highly motivated team thoroughly convinced playing well will raise draft stocks.

“I guess it could be a big money game, I guess you could say. You don’t get Alabama on your schedule every year,” wide receiver Jalen Saunders said. “We’re gonna take the opportunity.”

But it’s incredibly unlikely the Sooners would have a player selected in the first round of the NFL draft if it were held this week.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
OU Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • OU womens gym Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Much riding on Red River rivalry series

    Coach Patty Gasso said before last weekend’s road trip to Baylor that the Big 12 championship would run through Waco. The Sooners took care of that, taking two of three from the Bears to take control of the title race....

    April 17, 2014

  • Sooners hoping to keep momentum of marathon victory

    Practice was brief Wednesday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Rest was more important than work after what Oklahoma had gone through the previous night....

    April 17, 2014

  • OU’s Hornbeak to transfer

    In a surprising decision, sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak informed Oklahoma’s coaching staff on Tuesday he will transfer at the end of the spring semester....

    April 16, 2014

  • BedlamBaseball2 Sooners prevail in 18-inning Bedlam showdown

    STILLWATER — Oklahoma hoped a little more pop in the lineup would serve as an energy injection....

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red White Transfer QB Baker Mayfield shows promise in Red-White Game

    Individual awards were not handed out after Saturday’s Red-White Game. If they had, quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have left Owen Field empty handed. He only played against defensive backups, but going 9 for 9 for 125 yards and two ...

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • OU skipper looking for more firepower in the lineup

    What Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes did following the two-hour rain delay against Texas was telling. It didn’t pay off in the Sooners’ 8-1 loss that secured a series sweep for the Longhorns. But it declared where the Sooners are and that some ...

    April 15, 2014