News Columns & Blogs

Sooners steal respect trickery from Gators


The Oklahoma Sooners are mad. Remember that tonight when the top-ranked team in the nation takes the field as underdogs against the second-ranked Florida Gators.

Why? Because the Gators were mad two years ago when they took the field in Glendale, Ariz., as underdogs against Ohio State in the BCS title game.

The Gators had been shown a book previewing that game with page after page after page about the mighty Buckeyes and one page about the Gators.


The Gators were shown that book by their coaches.

Not sure there really was such a book. It was probably the creation of Florida coach Urban Meyer, who was trying to light the right flame under his team.

Meyer also pointed out the color scheme of the seats inside University of Phoenix Stadium. Buckeye scarlet and gray.

Whatever works.

And it worked.

Now, Meyer senses a similar ploy by Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

“I get that feeling, and I don’t like that,” Meyer said earlier this week.

The Sooners sense a lack of respect from the Gators, from quarterback Tim Tebow, who said he would love to face a Big 12 defense to linebacker Brandon Spikes, who used the word “joke” when describing the defense played in the Big 12.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, but Tebow received more first-place votes.

That he finished third in the Heisman voting has Tebow steamed, and you know Tim Terrific will use that as motivation tonight. But he will face a defense that is also out to prove they are not, as Spikes said, a joke.

Isn’t this great?

As if playing for a national championship isn’t enough, you have one team playing for respect, which you think would automatically come with a victory, but that won’t stop coaches from playing the “they don’t respect you” card.

It works in high school. It works in college. It occasionally works in the NFL.

Will it work tonight?

That depends on whether the Sooners’ offense can put a charge into the Gator defense. If the line can’t give Bradford time to throw, if his receivers can’t get open, than all that fist-shaking and chest-thumping won’t mean a thing.

Meyer said he doesn’t believe his team has shown a lack of respect for Oklahoma. Neither does Gator kick returner Brandon James.

“We feel like they are a good team, and we respect them,” James said. “So I don’t know where that is coming from.”

It’s coming from the Sooner coaches and the Sooner players and the Sooner fans.

Quotes are twisted or taken out of context.

Nothing is too small if it can be blown up and attached to the wall of a meeting room or locker room or included in the game plan.

It worked two years ago in the Arizona desert.