OU Bowl Notes from El Paso

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 27, 2009

El Paso, Texas - Notes and Trivia from Oklahoma's first two days at the Brut Sun Bowl ...

* The Sooners are practicing at Austin High School's R.E. McKee Stadium. The school was built in 1930, making it the second-oldest high school in El Paso. AHS has an enrollment of 1,500 students and competes in the 4A classification.

* Austin HS Head Coach Reuben Batista is on the Sun Bowl committee and is one of OU's hosts this week.

* The most famous alumnus of Austin HS is former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

* The school sits near the Franklin Mountains, which have a summit of more than 7,100 feet. The highest elevation in the Sooner state is at Black Mesa, Okla., at 4,973 feet. At nearly 3,800 feet above sea level, El Paso is 2,500 feet higher in elevation than Oklahoma City.

* OU Head Coach Bob Stoops has been so impressed with the playing surface on the Panthers' home field that he has asked OU officials to learn more about it as a possible practice surface in Norman. The rubber-based artificial surface is the same as that in Sun Bowl Stadium.

* Mickey Rogers, the offensive coordinator at Austin HS, is a native of Muldrow, Okla. He was a part-time assistant coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami in 1985.

* Visitors at Sunday's practice included former OU Sports Information Director John Keith, the son of the school's first SID, Harold Keith. John, who resides in nearby Las Cruces, NM. He was accompanied by his son, Duke, sports director at El Paso's KLAQ radio station.

* Duke Keith emceed the talent show at Saturday night's BBQ at Sunland Park in Sunland Park, NM. Both teams were on hand and provided representatives for the talent show. Bowl organizers were still tallying results when the two teams departed, but the general consensus was that OU had prevailed. The Sooners were spearheaded by Gerald McCoy's drum solo and Brian Lepak's crooning of "Come Fly With Me." Lepak brought out one of the Sun Bowl princesses for serenade.

* Tonight (Sunday), the Sun Bowl Committee will host the team for a Mexican dinner at Kiki's. Later in the week, the players will be at Oasis Lanes in El Paso for a bowling outing.

* Lepak's knee injury means that Oklahoma may have to use its fourth different starting center this season. The Sooners have never before had four different starting centers in the same season. A tip of the cap to researcher extradonnaire Mike Brooks for turning up this gem -- to date, the most starting centers ever used by OU in one season is three in 1993 and 2005.

* Oklahoma practiced in uppers only on Saturday, but was in full pads on Sunday.

* The traveling party observed chapel at the hotel on Sunday morning. It was led by Gerald McCoy.

* The seven-person group of equipment managers and staff who left Norman on Dec. 24 wound up stranded in Cisco, Texas, on Christmas eve with four spending the night in a community shelter. The other three slept in the semi. They eventually arrived 8 p.m., Christmas day.

* Greg Tipton, Oklahoma's Assistant Athletics Director/Equipment Operations and one of the key bowl organizers for the athletics department, said the Sun Bowl hosts are "awesome." "We heard about the hospitlatity before we arrived, but it has exceded anything we would have expected."



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