The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 17, 2013

Character a part of Sooner turnaround

NORMAN — Remember when Bob Stoops used to wax so eloquently about the character of his team?

The Sooners had been playing great defense from the beginning, went to Notre Dame and seemed to win with intestinal fortitude more than talent and even a three-point victory over TCU seemed more like a character builder than a great escape.

Absolutely, it’s funny how the narrative can change. It seemed like 2000 all over again until Chase McCoy found lightning in a bottle Oct. 12 at the Cotton Bowl and OU, very out of character, fell 36-20 to a desperate, but still not very good bunch of Longhorns.

It seems long, long ago.

Now, the original narrative is back. The Sooners are a team of character.

How else would they land a pair of away-from-home upsets to close out the regular season? How else would they beat Oklahoma State, when you really think about it, two different during a freezing fourth quarter in Stillwater?

Narratives can change, but this one’s finally staying put. 

If the Sooners upset Alabama Jan. 2 in New Orleans it will simply be further testament to the virtue of hard work and continuing the fight. If they get blown off the field, the story will be about how OU maximized down the final stretch of the regular season just to have the opportunity to play the college game’s stand-alone Goliath.

Also, Monday, there was additional indication of that character Stoops about which Stoops was only too happy to crown, back when folks still asked him about it, before Texas and before Baylor.

All-American and all-everything-else center Gabe Ikard made the point.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “You don’t get chances like this very often.”

It was a statement that begged a question. What opportunity? There are no championships up for grabs and, anyway, Ikard’s a senior. Whether the Crimson Tide is vanquished or victorious, his time as a Sooner will be up.

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