The Norman Transcript

September 4, 2013

Not much shift in polls

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma didn’t move in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released Tuesday. The Sooners (1-0) remained at No. 16 after their 34-0 season-opening victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

The Big 12 Conference still lacks a top 10 team, but the league added another team in the Top 25. Baylor jumped into the No. 23 spot after its 69-3 victory over FCS Wofford.

Oklahoma State remained at No. 13 and Texas at No. 15 for the second straight week. TCU dropped four spots after 37-27 loss to No. 9 LSU.

OU did jump one spot to No. 15 in the USA Today coaches poll.

Well hydrated: Another hot night is expected for OU’s Big 12 opener at 6 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field against West Virginia. The weather forecast is predicting temperatures in the mid 90s.

However, the Sooners handled triple-digit heat last Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe with little fatigue.

Players said the strength and conditioning staff and new athletic department nutritionist Tiffany Byrd should get the credit.

“You’ve got to attribute that to our strength staff for the summer program that they put us through. It’s one of the most rigorous times of the year for us, but we know that we go through it so we’re prepared to play four quarters in the fall,” OU center Gabe Ikard said. “Another person you can attribute is coach Byrd and her staff, our new nutritionist. She’s done a great job supplying us with food and drinks, shakes, all kinds of things that have allowed us to stay fueled throughout the day. They always supply us everything we need, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, to get ready for the game, hydration, nutrition-wise.

“Those two facets of our program have really stepped up. I think that’s the main reason that we were able to play an entire game with no guys cramping.”

Early start: OU has never played a conference game in early September, but that’s about to change.

OU coach Bob Stoops said the reason the game was moved up was both OU and West Virginia were looking at having two off weeks in September. Moving the game to the second week solved the problem.

Still, most teams prefer to have more than one game under their belts before entering conference play.

“Both of us must have (liked the idea), otherwise why would we have moved it?” Stoops said. “For the whole schedule, it fit better.”

No calls: The Associated Press reported Monday that at least six players were ejected for “targeting” and will be suspended for the second game of the season.

No OU players were called for targeting in the opener. Therefore, no players are facing suspensions for the West Virgina game.

More catches coming: OU only completed 14 passes against Louisiana-Monroe, but offensive coordinator Josh Heupel expects that number to dramatically rise.

“We’re not going to shy away from throwing it. We need to throw it better than we did the other night, but we’re still going to put the ball up in the air,” he said. “We took a bunch of shots last week down the field. We just didn’t hit them. For us to be successful we’ve got to start doing that.”

OU quarterback Trevor Knight did throw three touchdown passes, but he only completed 11 passes on the night.