|Thursday, January 8|
We're going to switch over to the gameday blog now so head over with us for an OU perspective on the events unfolding on the field.
Had to run down to Gate F where the OU Ticket Office crew has the Sooner Will Call set up and ran into one of my all-time favorite Sooners. All-American tight end Keith Jackson was there with his family and decked out in crimson. Hard not to think of Jackson's 71-yard TD reception against Penn State in the Orange Bowl that claimed the 1985 National Championship for Oklahoma:
Oklahoma TE Keith Jackson TD vs. Penn State
Here as you have time before the game, review more classic moments from OU's history in South Florida in this feature.
Change in venue for the SoonerSports.com crew. We mentioned earlier that we were situated in the East press box behind the end zone, but we have since been moved to South press box for an even better view almost right on the 50-yard line. We'll be able to provide an even better perspective from here.
Upon our arrival here at the stadium, the first thing we noticed is the flawless condition of the field. Dolphin Stadium has been a busy place the last week, serving host to the Orange Bowl last Thursday, the Miami Dolphins playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and tonight's FedEx BCS National Championship Game.
Despite the heavy traffic, the field looks beautiful. As we mentioned earlier, the South end zone is painted in the friendly Crimson and Cream colors, while the North end zone features Florida's orange and blue. Also of note, the bench areas are painted in the team's respective colors, as opposed to the large white tarps which typically cover the area.
We just arrived here at Dolphin Stadium and are set up in the East press box directly behind the Oklahoma end zone. As our buses pulled up, we were greeted with plenty of cheers from the OU faithful and saw more than our fair share of Gator chomps from Florida fans. Gates don't open until 6:00 p.m. ET, so it's pretty quiet inside the stadium right now. I guess you could say it's the calm before the storm. We'll keep you updated regularly from here on out.
We're headed to the buses to depart for Dolphin Stadium. Once we get set up inside the press box, we'll begin providing quicker updates as we count down to kickoff at 8:19 p.m. (Eastern).
Another gorgeous day in South Florida. Tonight's game will be played in near perfect conditions with the temp at kickoff at 65 degrees, very light winds and zero percent chance of precipitation. The temperature should slowly drop to around 60 degrees later in the evening.
After offensive and defensive meetings this morning, the players are resting in their hotel rooms. Wonder what's going through their minds right now? Less than six hours to go to kickoff...
Just made it through the lobby at the Fontainebleau and this place is swarming with Sooner fans. Crimson everywhere including plenty of "Beat Florida" shirts. The Boomer Bash kicks off at 2 p.m. here at the hotel with appearances by former Sooner greats Brian Bosworth, Tony Casillas and Greg Pruitt.
Marketing director Dave Haskin passed along the note that OU's spirit and marketing staff distributed 10,000 crimson and cream poms this morning in the OU sections of Dolphin Stadium. It's a tradition carried over from the Big 12 Championship Game and makes Oklahoma fans especially noticeable on the TV broadcast.
If you're not already on the edge of your seat tonight's game (and who really is getting any work done today?), check out this video:
ESPN Feature on Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy
After brunch, Oklahoma holds offensive and defensive meetings this morning at the hotel. The players will rest in their rooms before a pre-game meal, test and motivational. The buses head for Dolphin Stadium at 5:15 p.m. with the Sooners due to arrive at the stadium at 6 p.m. -- a full two hours before kickoff.
Remember, FOX has the national TV broadcast of the game. The Sooner Sports Network will have OU's radio call of the game across its affiliates. If you're not near an OU affiliate, you can listen to the game online free at SoonerSports.com. The game will also be live on Sirius Channel 120, XM channel 140 and the ESPN Radio Network.
SoonerSports.com will blog live from Dolphin Stadium providing an OU perspective as events unfold on the field. Our Fan Bowl Primer provides complete information for the lucky fans who actually hold a ticket to this game and will be making their way to the stadium.
Oklahoma plays for the program's eighth football national title tonight in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game. The game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports with kickoff slated for 8:19 p.m. (7:19 p.m. Central) from Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
|Wednesday, January 7|
Here we are on the threshold of deciding college football's national champion. Every team dreamed of the crystal football back in August and now we're less than 24 hours from dreams dashed and dreams come true. Will the trophy be headed to Gainesville or Norman?
I have no idea which way this game will go and truth be told, no one else does either. Not the TV pundits, not the fans, not the coaches and not the players. They can all make predictions but the only thing certain is that all go to bed tonight with dreams intact.
Wednesday afternoon marked OU's final appearance at Barry University for the team's walkthrough in preparation for tomorrow night's FedEx BCS National Championship Game.
With the Sooners donning just shorts and t-shirts today, David "Dukes" Littlejohn had already moved the University of Oklahoma football truck from the fields at Barry to Dolphin Stadium. The equipment staff led by Brad Camp and Blake Kuenzi has been busy preparing OU's locker room at the stadium for the final game of the season.
Prior to the workout, a Sooner who has grown accustomed to being approached by fans found himself on the opposite side of the spectrum. Despite growing up in Oklahoma, Heisman winner Sam Bradford was a hockey nut, checking the newspaper daily for Vancouver Canucks' scores and the accomplishments of his boyhood idol, Pavel Bure.
An introduction was set up for Bure and Bradford, unbeknownst to Bradford. When OU head coach Bob Stoops informed Bradford he had a visitor and the name of the visitor, the quarterback lit up like a kid on Christmas morning.
Sam Bradford Meets Hockey Great Pavel Bure
Photo Gallery of Bradford Meeting Pavel Bure
The meeting with his childhood hero has not been the only once-in-a-lifetime experience for Bradford on this trip. While he was out with teammates for dinner on South Beach earlier this week, the group was offered the chance to buy an item "autographed" by Heisman winner Sam Bradford. The street vendor failed to realize that he was attempting to sell a fake autograph to the supposed signee himself.
After six days in Miami, the days of preparation are over and the only thing that awaits is the game itself. Five months ago in the heat of August, 120 NCAA FBS programs began preparation for the 2008 season with one goal: the FedEx BCS National Championship.
Now on the eve of the game, after all the wins and losses, all the politicking for poll positions, all the debates by the pundits and sportswriters, through the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, just two teams made it: the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Florida Gators.
Both teams will enter Dolphin Stadium tomorrow night and leave nothing on the field. Passion, pride and heart will be on full display down on the turf and the team expects the same to be displayed in the stands.
Thursday night marks one final opportunity this season for the Sooner Nation to rise up and let its collective voice be heard. From east to west and north to south, OU fans will don their crimson and cream in the chase for national title number eight.
Barry Switzer once said: "People don't know what is to be champions, Oklahoma invented it." Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium, this OU team has the chance to back up that quote. It's time...
Senior defensive end Alan Davis again provides a player's perspective on OU's bowl experience by sharing his own video from Miami. Davis manned the camera Monday night while the Sooners attended a team dinner and comedy show at the Fontainebleau. Although the team's recent activities have focused on tomorrow's game, these videos share a time when the players had an opportunity to relax. Check out the players' messages home:
Sooners Send Messages Back to Norman, Home
Tour OU Players' Lounge at the Fontainebleau
Alan Davis Reports from Fontainebleau Cabana
Davis & Quentin Chaney at Front of Hotel
Frank Alexander Does His Own "Sooner Cribs"
The Sooner Sports Network will broadcast live from Miami later this evening. Join Bob Barry and Merv Johnson at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach at 7:05 p.m. (6:05 Central) for the live broadcast of the Sooner Sports Talk BCS National Championship Preview Show presented by Chickasaw Nation. The show will air live on the Sooner Sports Network.
At 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central), Dean Blevins and John Holcomb will host a live broadcast of the Sooner Football BCS National Championship Special presented by OG+E. Fans back home in Oklahoma should tune in to KWTV Channel 9 in OKC and KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa.
Check out our Fan Bowl Primer for all the latest information on activities surrounding the 2009 BCS National Championship Game.
The Sooners are one day out from playing for the program's eighth national championship. Coach Stoops began the day with a press conference at the media hotel in Fort Lauderdale:
Coach Stoops Pre-Game Press Conference Quotes
Wednesday's schedule dials back considerably for the players. Position meetings are on tap this morning at the hotel before the team heads back to Barry University for a final walkthrough this afternoon.
I do have to share this note about our trek to practice. Every day as the team bus convoy rolls across the causeway, we pass a school walking guard who serenades us with a big Gator chomp, complete with hand-held stop sign.
Surprisingly, we haven't had too many other encounters with Florida fans. This being Miami, you have plenty of UM fans and Florida State fans mixed in plus loads of people who have no idea there's even a national title game in town tomorrow night.
We are noticing an increasing number of crimson-clad fans in Miami and cars sporting Oklahoma tags. Good to see. We'll check back a little later with more exclusive behind-the-scenes video from our player cameraman, Alan Davis, plus coverage of OU's final preparations for the game.
|Tuesday, January 6|
Watch interviews with CB Brian Jackson, WR Manuel Johnson and OG Brandon Walker. Senior Associate A.D. Kenny Mossman discusses Oklahoma's media coverage, Director of Sports Enhancement Jerry Schmidt talks about bowl workouts and Merv Johnson provides perspective on OU's storied history in the Orange Bowl:
Interview with Junior Cornerback Brian Jackson
Interview with Senior Receiver Manuel Johnson
Interview with Senior Guard Brandon Walker
Kenny Mossman on Oklahoma's Media Coverage
Merv Johnson on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl
Jerry Schmidt on Bowl Strength & Conditioning
Tuesday marked the final full practice at Barry University for the Sooners as they prepare for Thursday night's FedEx BCS National Championship Game. OU will return to the campus on Wednesday for one final walk through and then it's time to settle it on the field. Thanks to Brandon Meier of SoonerVision for practice video.
Sooners Hold Final Full Practice Tuesday (67 Photos)
Video from Oklahoma's Final Full Bowl Practice
Quotes from Stoops, Johnson, Box, Beal, Williams
The Sooners were spirited but still displayed the look of focus and determination that they've shown all week. OU began and ended the practice session with a focus on special teams.
Tuesday was also the final day of media availability for the players as a flock of media members descended on the field following the conclusion of practice to get one last bit of perspective from the Sooners. Coach Stoops will appear at a final press conference Wednesday morning at the media headquarters and that will mark the final time the media speaks to an OU representative before Thursday night's game.
We'll post video from practice and more video supplied by defensive end Alan Davis soon.
The OU fans are starting to pour into Miami. There were a number of Sooners in the hotel lobby prior to practice and some former OU players including Eric Bassey, Mark Bradley and Clint Ingram who were waiting on Tommie Harris to arrive. We also saw a number of Oklahoma license plate on the way back to the team hotel as well.
If you're getting ready to leave Oklahoma to head this way, remember to bring the noise in the chase for number eight!
SoonerVision director Brandon Meier teamed up with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for a tour of Oklahoma's accommodations at the Fontainebleau here in Miami Beach. Check out the swank hotel as McCoy provides you a behind-the-scenes look at the players' lounge, pools, view from the balconies and more:
Gerald McCoy Provides Fans a Tour of the Fontainebleau
Another sun-soaked morning in Miami is upon us. Thursday night's game should be held in excellent weather conditions if current forecasts hold true: clear skies with projected high of 73 degrees and low of 56. Hourly projections have not been made available but we'll keep an eye out for conditions expected closer to the 8:13 p.m. (eastern) kickoff time when available.
Tory Kukowski posted an excellent feature on Oklahoma's storied bowl history in Miami. The 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship game marks OU's third trip to Dolphin Stadium and its 19th trip to Miami all-time for a bowl game. Watch bowl highlights from OU's prior trips to South Florida and view facts you might not have known about Oklahoma's post-season history in the Sunshine State.
|Monday, January 5|
The Sooner players enjoyed dinner and a team comedy show here at the Fontainebleau this evening. It will be a short night on South Beach with curfew moving up to 11 p.m. as we inch closer to Thursday. Tomorrow's schedule includes position and team meetings at the hotel and an afternoon practice back at Barry University.
Considering the skill Alan Davis displayed in wielding the SoonerSports.com camera at media day, we charged the batteries and let the senior capture more of the bowl trip from the player's perspective. Stay tuned for more video tomorrow. Boomer Sooner and good night from Miami.
Brandon Meier from SoonerVision just uploaded a couple of videos from media day this morning at Dolphin Stadium. You have to check out the line of questioning for offensive tackle Branndon Braxton. We thought he handled it pretty well...
Sights & Sounds from Monday's Media Day
Interview with Senior D-Tackle Cory Bennett
Sooners Check Out Locker Room for Thursday Night
RB Mossis Madu & OT Branndon Braxton
Secondary Coach Bobby Jack Wright on Tebow
Jeff Salmond on Dolphin Stadium Field Conditions
A big thanks to senior defensive end Alan Davis from Colleyville, Texas, who manned the SoonerSports.com camera during this morning's media session. Davis provided a player's perspective of media day as he conducted his own interviews of teammates at Dolphin Stadium. Receivers Quentin Chaney and Manuel Johnson were also seen with the microphones of TV stations in their hands at different points during the interview session.
Sooners Tour Locker Room | More from Lockers
Davis Interviews Senior D-Tackle Cory Bennett
Davis & Quentin Chaney Interview Coach Stoops
Interview with Sam Bradford | Cortney Carter
Gerald McCoy vs. Jellyfish | More from GK
Branndon Braxton Impersonates Coach Stoops
Interview with Jon Cooper | Jonathan Nelson
Davis, Sooners Take a Look at BCS Trophy
Another beautiful day in Miami as the Sooners got their first look at Dolphin Stadium with the Fedex BCS National Championship Media Day on the schedule. The Sooners donned their crimson jerseys complete with the BCS National Championship patch here at the hotel before the trip.
Upon arrival at the stadium, OU first checked out its locker room, the same room that housed the Miami Dolphins for their playoff game yesterday against the Baltimore Ravens. The spacious room is filled with wide wood-paneled lockers and blue carpet. An oversized Fedex BCS National Championship logo covers the middle of the floor.
The players were then escorted out to the field where Sam Bradford, Jon Cooper, Nic Harris, Travis Lewis and Gerald McCoy joined Coach Stoops on individual podiums for media questioning.
The remaining starters were separated into offense and defense and placed in a small batch of seats just behind where home plate is located for the Florida Marlins' games. The rest of the team was then spaced out in the same lower-level seats that fans will occupy in Thursday night's title game.
OU Media Day at Dolphin Stadium No. 1 (78 Photos)
OU Media Day at Dolphin Stadium No. 2 (71 Photos)
Stoops, Bradford, Lewis, McCoy, Harris, Cooper Quotes
The Dolphin Stadium field crew was beginning preparation for Thursday night's game, stenciling in the end zone designs. It looked as though the east end zone will be painted with Oklahoma's logo and colors. The crew has been working overtime as they immediately began laying down new sod in the end zones and in the middle of the field after yesterday's Dolphins' game.
The sod comes from a farm in Foley, Ala., and is the same turf that was used in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium for the Big 12 Championship Game. An estimated 16,000 to 20,000 square feet of new sod will be used to update the end zones, the midfield BCS Championship logo and the FedEx logos on the 25-yard lines.
As the No. 1 team in the final BCS rankings, Oklahoma will wear crimson and will hold down the home sideline (opposite arrangement from the 2005 Orange Bowl game).
The players also got a look at the BCS National Championship trophy that was on display. Players posed for pictures with the trophy but were not able to touch it as the crystal ball was under the tight watch of its handlers, Charley Green and Ray Mallouk.
|Sunday, January 4|
Although it's Sunday to everyone else, it's Tuesday for the Sooners. OU continues to follow its normal game week procedure leading up to Thursday's game. Oklahoma donned full pads for the first time in Florida and went through a number of full-speed drills in advance of the FedEx BCS National Championship Game.
Despite losing one of their Miami Dade police officers for the escort over after his car was struck by a vehicle at the Fontainebleau Hotel, the Sooners were easily able to return to practice at Barry University with a police escort from a full force on motorbikes. A big thanks to the Miami Dade police department for providing the service and allowing OU to stay so tight to schedule.
Music greeted the team on the practice field as OU worked with speakers to help mimic crowd noise. Prior to the start of the scrimmage portion of practice, House of Pain's "Jump Around" (which has become an OU crowd favorite) came over the speakers as the team split up into offense and defense and began jumping.
January 4 Bowl Practice Photo Gallery (55 Photos)
Sooners Hold Sunday Bowl Practice in Full Pads
Coach Stoops with Media After Practice
Prior to this morning's press conference, OU alum and Baltimore Ravens WR Mark Clayton stopped by to say a quick hello to the Sooner defensive contingent at the media session. Clayton and the Ravens stayed at the media hotel and were preparing to head to Dolphin Stadium for their NFL playoff game against the Miami Dolphins. Clayton and the Ravens defeated the hometown Fins, 27-9.
Following practice, OU head coach Bob Stoops held a brief interview session with a small group of media that included both Oklahoma beat writers, local Miami media and ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel.
Florida Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio, Tim Tebow, Jason Watkins, Louis Murphy, Maurkise Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, and Phil Trautwein also met with the media on Sunday. Read their quotes on facing Oklahoma here (courtesy the Orange Bowl).
Read quotes from the Oklahoma defensive press conference at the media hotel in Fort Lauderdale here. Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables, DT Gerald McCoy, DE Jeremy Beal, SS Nic Harris, FS Lendy Holmes and CB Dominique Franks answered questions from the assembled media. Here are a few highlights:
Oklahoma Defensive Press Conference
Gerald McCoy: "Tim Tebow is a great player, big guy, strong guy, and he knows his offense. He knows what he's facing. He always does a great job going against any defense he faces. There's a lot of different things that their offense poses. You kind of never really know where the ball is going, and you've just got to read your keys and react."
Nic Harris: "Obviously any time you have a team that's home state and they're hosting the home state or whatever, it's going to be a great challenge for the opposing team, as well. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter when we get between the white lines. Nobody can win the game besides those 11 guys out on the field at any given point in time."
Lendy Holmes: "Good receivers, good speed. Percy and obviously everybody talks about him being a fast guy, which he is, and never even talk about the other receivers, which they are a good group of receivers. We can't just be focused on Percy. They're all out there catching and running just the same as Percy. But Percy is just doing a little more."
Dominique Franks: "They have a lot of great speed and a lot of big play guys. When they catch the ball, taking sweeps, taking handoffs, anything like that, we've just got to be great in open space and being able to tackle is going to be the key factor in this game."
Jeremy Beal: "The offensive line, they're big, strong and fast. I mean, they're physical, they can block well, and it's going to be a real challenge for our front four, even our front seven."
If you're following our daily coverage of the Sooners in Miami, you know we're updating OU fans by the minute on all aspects of Oklahoma's bowl week in Miami leading up to Thursday's game. Here's a quick scan of the headlines from Oklahoma, Florida and national college football sites to provide you a broader perspective.
Here's a quick rundown of today's activities for the Sooner football team in Miami. Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables and DT Gerald McCoy, DE Jeremy Beal, SS Nic Harris, FS Lendy Holmes and CB Dominique Franks will travel with media relations staff Kenny Mossman and David Bassity to Fort Lauderdale for a press conference.
The team will hold position meetings at the hotel here in Miami Beach before departing for practice. More position meetings follow after practice back at the hotel and then the Orange Bowl treats the team to a dinner outing at the famed Brazilian steakhouse Fogo De Chao.
By the way, we're not the only Sooners slated to play in Miami. The Miami Dolphins host the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the NFL Playoffs at Dolphin Stadium this afternoon. Ravens Chris Chester, Mark Clayton, Corey Ivy and Kelly Gregg will play at noon (Central) on CBS.
Today's NFL game marks the second of three games to be played on the Dolphin Stadium field in a week. Virginia Tech defeated Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl on Thursday night.
|Saturday, January 3|
The players enjoyed a team beach cookout at the Fontainebleau tonight under the stars. The view of the hotels and resorts lit up along the coast is impressive. You can see the cruise ships glowing to the east as they head out to sea.
The team was treated to a mix of salads, cornbread, baked beans, baked chicken, flank steak and BBQ ribs while a DJ was on hand spinning the latest hits. The players took full advantage with their own dance off. Lamont Robinson and Cory Bennett put on a little step show paying homage to their fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.
Gerald McCoy, who besides a long professional career in football has a future as a host on the E! channel, took over as guest host for SoonerSports.com TV showing some highlights of the cookout.
Obie the Orange Bowl mascot was back in action at the hotel taking photos with the players and helping serve food. I hope he's not getting worn out from all of his (or her -- we'll check on this tomorrow) appearances, as Obie seemed a little more subdued tonight.
Prior to the cookout, players ventured out into the Atlantic Ocean and explored the beach behind the hotel. Kicker Jimmy Stevens was seen channeling his inner-David Hasselhoff sprinting into the water Baywatch-style.
Sooners Enjoy Beach, Sand Sculpture, Atlantic Ocean
Gerald McCoy with Cory Bennett on Bowl Experience
Gerald McCoy, Cortney Carter & Brian Jackson
Gerald McCoy and Adrian Taylor on Cookout
A sand sculptor was at work behind the beach creating an impressive 3D sculpture of the BCS National Championship logo. At last check the sculptor was in the process of creating an oversized OU helmet beside the logo.
On a picture-perfect day the Oklahoma football team returned to work in its second day of practice at Barry University. The Sooners practiced for a little over an hour-and-a-half underneath sunny skies and a slight breeze.
After the full team went through a spirited special teams workout, OU split into two squads on the adjoining practice fields, which are actually soccer fields for the NCAA Division II athletics program.
On hand to scout draft-eligible players was Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells along with a pair of Dolphins' scouts. Parcells spoke to the team prior the start of practice to remind them to play with heart and fortitude.
Coach Stoops Invites Bill Parcells to Speak to Team (8 Photos)
Bill Parcells Talks to Team Prior to Practice
Also on hand were two of Bob Stoops' former Kansas State players from the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area in former Wildcat running back Eric Hixson and defensive back Marcus Miller. The two were warmly greeted by Stoops who bragged on the two to some of his current OU players.
Following practice, Coach Stoops met with members of the media to discuss the upcoming game while a number of players enjoyed a dip in the oversized cold tubs next to the practice field.
Oklahoma Holds Second Bowl Practice in Florida (61 Photos)
Coach Stoops Meets with Media After Practice
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson joined QB Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham, WR Juaquin Iglesias, OT Phil Loadholt, C Jon Cooper and RB Chris Brown at a media session in Fort Lauderdale Saturday morning.
"We're on a Monday routine with our meeting schedule, practice schedule," said Coach Wilson. "We have a fair amount of stuff in place. We have already practiced and guys have traveled, everybody is here. Everybody is ready to go. Hotel is fine. Ready to roll.
Coach Wilson was then asked about what makes Sam Bradford special. "I think he's a better athlete than given credit for. As a football player outside the physical skill, he can mentally process, play within himself, he can handle a lot mentally and not stress out, and he's surrounded by a nice complementary group of players."
Oklahoma Offensive Press Conference
Coach Wilson, Offensive Players with Media (9 Photos)
Quotes: Coach Wilson, OU Offensive Players
Quotes: Florida Coach Charlie Strong, Defensive Quotes
|Friday, January 2|
We checked in to the team hotel here in South Beach and it can be said that the Sooners have truly arrived. The Fontainebleau is first-class. The players enjoyed a welcome reception sponsored by the Orange Bowl here at the hotel and then they were free to explore South Beach. However, the players approached the coaches on their own and requested that their curfew be moved earlier. Thus, the guys are due back by midnight (and the curfew gets earlier as we get closer to game day).
The coaches, their families and the rest of the travel party were also treated to a welcome reception outside the hotel complete with dinner, live music and an opportunity to mingle with Orange Bowl representatives (impossible to miss decked in their customary orange blazers). Obie, the Orange Bowl's mascot, made the rounds posing for photos with kids and shaking hands with the crowd.
For unknown reasons, Obie displayed a strange attraction to assistant media relations director David Bassity. After chest-bumping Bassity into next week after the team landed at the airport, Obie again found Bassity at the dinner reception and nearly knocked him into his plate of food. Hint to the uninitiated: Obie is one sturdy fruit.
It took us a bit to get set up here in Miami but we'll begin transmitting more updates from team headquarters throughout the rest of our bowl trip. Thanks for following OU here at SoonerSports.com and we'll check back in with you tomorrow.
Oklahoma got right down to business with a short bowl practice at Barry University this afternoon. The weather was sublime with green grass, a setting sun, warm temps and a slight breeze. The practice session didn't last long -- but it didn't have to. The session was designed to remind the players why we're here and focus their minds on the task at hand. Coach Stoops gathered the players around him at the close of practice and discussed the responsibilities of representing the University of Oklahoma while we're down here. It was a "yes, sir" and "no, sir" kind of talk.
Sooners Hold First Bowl Practice in Florida (34 Photos)
Coach Venables Warms Up LBs in First Florida Practice
The Sooners are in South Florida. Members of the Orange Bowl welcoming party rolled out the orange carpet and handed out lanyards with the bowl patch, travel bags and oranges to the players as they came down the stairs from our 747. Technically, the Sooners aren't in the Orange Bowl but it sure feels like Oklahoma's familiar post-season stomping ground.
OU's bus convoy was lined up on the tarmac with obligatory motorcycle police escort standing by. The bowl committee did an excellent job on the graphics for the buses with OU's logo on all sides, a team huddle shot and the Schooner rolling. Miami drivers won't have any problem identifying who's holding up traffic when we blast by on the way to and from practice. Check quotes from Coach Stoops here.
Sooners Arrive in South Florida (48 Photos)
Orange Bowl Committee Welcomes OU to BCS Title Game
I'm hammering out the first of our SoonerSports.com bowl updates on the team plane as we fly to Miami. Currently, we're somewhere past New Orleans over the Gulf of Mexico. I can be fairly precise on our location since the TV in front of me shows a continuously-updated flight path complete with ground speed (662 mph) and outside air temperature (minus 70 degrees).
Oklahoma's bowl trip commenced in heavy fog this morning in Norman. Players, coaches and staff went through security checks at the stadium and boarded buses for the first leg of the trip. The convoy's police escort delivered us safely to Will Rogers World Airport in OKC with Sooner fans waving from cars along the route.
Funny, we're headed southeast but we're flying Northwest. This Boeing 747 is gigantic. Our buses pulled up to the plane out on the tarmac in Oklahoma City and it towered over us. The double-decker seating arrangement is notable. The team's starters pulled rank and are enjoying the view on the top floor. The rest of us are on the regular floor but you have to like the size of this wide-body aircraft. Plenty of room with nine seats and two aisles across.
I have to admit that I thought of all the people on this plane as we lifted off from OKC. First, it's amazing that we can get everyone (including Phil Loadholt) on one plane and off the ground.
Second, all the coaches and department staff on the plane represent so many different responsibilities crucial to putting a championship-caliber football team on the field. In the seats ahead of me, Brandon Meier from SoonerVision is busy working on the next video you'll enjoy, Billy Ray Johnson from the ticket office is going over the Dolphin Stadium seating chart in his head and Kenny Mossman from media relations is planning the team's exposure to the press.
Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione has made his way up and down both aisles personally greeting each staff member and their families. To my side, Coach Venables is busy marking up defensive formations for the game. Without question, this is a business trip from the very beginning.
|Thursday, January 1|
Happy 2009 Sooner fans! Now back to the serious business at hand. The OU football team departs for Florida on Friday morning and holds its first bowl practice in the Sunshine State later that evening. Check SoonerSports.com frequently throughout the week leading up to the game as we'll post official coverage of the Sooners direct from team headquarters you won't find anywhere else.
|Wednesday, December 31|
We've made it to the final day of 2008. And, for the final time before they head to Miami, Coach Stoops and select OU players met with the media following practice Tuesday evening. Remember, we will begin daily updates with video, photos and features on Friday as the Sooners begin bowl week in Florida.
Stoops | Venables | Beal | Broyles | McCoy | Williams | OU Football Video Archives | Video Library
|Monday, December 29|
The Sooners are scheduled to fly from Oklahoma City to Miami on Friday. Then, it's right to work for the team as Oklahoma holds the first of six bowl practices that evening in Florida. SoonerSports.com will post notes, photos and video as the team lands in Miami and throughout the week leading up to the National Championship Game.
Boomer Bytes: Sooners in the News | Oklahoma Fan Primer
It's always interesting to read opinion from the media that cover the opponent on a regular basis. We mix in links from Florida newspapers in our daily Boomer Bytes updates but below are direct links so that you can gain more perspective on your own:
Gainesville | Miami | St. Petersburg | Orlando | Tampa |Palm Beach | Jacksonville | Florida Today
|Monday, December 22|
Head coach Bob Stoops and select players met with the media Monday in Norman to preview the FedEx BCS National Championship Game matchup with Florida on January 8, 2009. View quotes from Coach Stoops in addition to Sooner players Jon Cooper, Lendy Holmes, Jeremy Beal, Chris Brown, Phil Loadholt, Nic Harris, Gerald McCoy and Dominique Franks, courtesy OU Athletics Media Relations:
Oklahoma Pre-Bowl Press Conference | Stoops | Bradford
|Friday, December 19|
The OU Athletics Media Relations office just released the official bowl guide for the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game. The guide presents a comprehensive review of the 2008 season with game recaps, statistics and notes. Read updated bios for the players and coaching staff plus complete bowl history for the Sooners.
Official Oklahoma Bowl Guide | OU Depth Chart | UF Depth Chart
|Daily Bowl Coverage|
SoonerSports.com is your official bowl source with daily updates direct from team headquarters in Miami. This marks our sixth consecutive season of sharing OU's bowl experience with Sooner fans across the nation and around the world.
OU Athletics Internet Services Director, Jason Matheson, will post daily reports, video, photo galleries and features from location in Miami. SoonerVision director Brandon Meier will post additional video features. Senior Associate A.D. for Communications Kenny Mossman and Assistant Media Relations Director David Bassity will assist in online coverage of the Sooners throughout bowl week.
BCS No. 1 and Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) will play BCS No. 2 and SEC champion Florida (12-1) in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., on January 8, 2009. The game marks OU's seventh BCS bowl and fourth national title game in nine seasons.