The Norman Transcript

November 23, 2012

Seniors have chance to go out in style


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It’s Bedlam. There’s a Big 12 Conference race to still be decided. However, there’s still another reason why OU needs a victory against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

“You have guys that you have played with for three years now. Guys are like family. They’re not just teammates, but family now,” OU junior fullback Trey Millard said. “It’s very important to send them off the right way. We’ve had two losses at home this year and we don’t want three.”

Sending OU’s senior class of 20 out in winning style is something the rest of the team has wrapped itself around. The group is currently 38-12 and part of the 2010 Big 12 championship.

However, OU coach Bob Stoops credits the bunch with something bigger than wins or losses.

“I think what I’ve been really pleased about is from the winter and spring on, they’ve really been a solid group with their attitude and their character,” Stoops said. “I felt it, overall, slipped last year.

“They’ve maintained a really consistent and positive work attitude and been disciplined off the field. Their expectations have been what we’re used to having around here. They’ve done a good job of setting an example of how to do it and influencing other guys to do it right.”

There have been classes that have accomplished more. This group has to win out in the regular season to at least tie for the Big 12 championship. OU hasn’t gone more than a year without one since 1999. It will take a win against Oklahoma State on Saturday and another on Dec. 1 at TCU to guarantee at least a share of that title.

Nonetheless, it’s the professionalism this group of seniors have carried themselves with this season that sets them apart.

Some point to the two home losses this season as a blight. OU still has a chance to go undefeated away from Owen Field for the first time since 2000.

Off-the-field issues have been minimal for this team. Suspensions have been minimal.

“I think it was more the fact we decided to do what was right. This university gives us the opportunity to go to class and get an education and it all translates over into football,” said OU quarterback Landry Jones, who is part of that senior class. “I think it was just attention to detail and doing things right off the field.”

Whether or not these senior collect all the hardware some of their predecessors did, will play out over the rest of the regular season and the bowl game.

However, this is a group that fully understands playing at OU is a special experience. They cherished the ups and downs that came with it.

“This is going to be the last time I’m going to be able to walk out on that field and represent the OU jersey in front of the fans we have here. It’s going to be crazy,” senior defensive end David King said.

John ShinnFollow me @john_shinnjshinn@normantranscript.com

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