West Virginia handed Oklahoma a 48-28 loss in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday night in Glendale. View complete information at Sooner Fiesta Bowl Central.
Happy 2008 and Boomer Sooner! The team enjoyed a brunch this morning prior to position meetings at the team hotel in Scottsdale. The Sooners depart for practice this afternoon at Pinnacle High.
Coach Stoops held a press conference this morning at the Camelback Inn Resort. Full quotes are available here.
View the latest features on the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game between Oklahoma and West Virginia with links to comprehensive media coverage at Boomer Bytes.
Complete information for Sooner fans attending the game in Glendale on January 2 and details for those following at home is available at Sooner Fiesta Bowl Central.
On the last day of 2007, the Sooners enjoyed their first look inside University of Phoenix Stadium Monday morning as the Fiesta Bowl hosted media day for the Oklahoma team in Glendale.
Wearing warmups and crimson bowl jerseys sporting the Fiesta Bowl patch, the players snapped photos and filmed their entrance into the massive structure. For most, it was their first return to the field since last season's game.
Auston English, Curtis Lofton, Sam Bradford and Malcolm Kelly joined Coach Stoops on individual platforms along the sideline while the rest of the team stretched out in the lower section of the stadium seats. Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona and national media swarmed the players and coaches for the half-hour session.
View photos of media day here with full quotes on the way.
Senior defensive end Alonzo Dotson manned the SoonerSports.com camera and conducted his own interviews with teammates in the stands during the session:
DE Alonzo Dotson Mans the SoonerSports.com Camera
Watch complete video from Oklahoma's media session at University of Phoenix Stadium by clicking the multimedia links to the right.
Oklahoma returned to Pinnacle High Monday afternoon for the team's fifth practice in Arizona. The Sooners will ring in the New Year at the team hotel following a steak fry presented by the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma conducted its fourth bowl practice in Arizona Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle High in Scottsdale. The weather keeps getting better as temperatures were in the lower 60s with little wind. View post-practice interviews with senior tight end Joe Jon Finley and sophomore linebacker Lamont "Bup" Robinson.
Following practice, the players ate a quick lunch and headed back to the team hotel for a little R&R. The Fiesta Bowl will treat the Sooners to dinner tonight at the world-renowned Mastro's Steakhouse.
SoonerSports.com handed off the camera to senior running back Jacob Gutierrez for a player's perspective of the bowl experience. Gute takes you behind the scenes at the team hotel including a trip inside the player hospitality suite here at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort:
Dec. 30 - Jacob Gutierrez Takes You Behind the Scenes
Sunday morning, the Oklahoma defense took center stage at the Fiesta Bowl press conference at the Camelback Inn Resort in Scottsdale. Coaches Brent Venables and Bobby Jack Wright joined junior linebacker Curtis Lofton, sophomore defensive end Auston English, junior safety Nic Harris and senior safety D.J. Wolfe in front of the cameras.
Lofton had this to say when asked about last year's Fiesta Bowl: "What happened last year is last year. It's a whole different year and whole different team," said Lofton. "It seems like every time there is something on about college games they always show Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. I'm getting tired of seeing that. I can't wait to play this game and get rid of that memory. It's not about our comeback. It's about who wins the game. They won the game and they deserved all of the credit."
Junior safety Nic Harris shared his philosophy on the team's mentality: "We can finish what we started. We had two games where we lapsed and we didn't finish they way we needed to finish," explained Harris. "We know we need to come out and play well. We've got to finish. It has to come from within us. It's a mentality that we developed within ourselves, that we have to come out and finish each and every day."
Co-Defensive Coordinator Bobby Jack Wright on the Mountaineer offense: "West Virginia is probably more efficient at running this offense than anybody that we've faced. Nobody runs it to the efficiency that West Virginia does. Any offense that you run where you are averaging 300 yards a game rushing the football, you're doing a heck of a job running the football.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect in what they're doing with this offense. It all goes through Pat White. He's the catalyst. Everything starts with him. He is also their leading rusher on the team."
The OU contingent took the stage following a session by West Virginia offensive players and coaches. The Sooners wore crimson warmups while the Mountaineers wore their blue and gold heading out the door. View photos here and full quotes from the press conference here.
Oklahoma's coaches would be hard-pressed to find better weather for practice than what the Sooners enjoyed on Saturday at Pinnacle High School in Scottsdale. OU's third bowl session in Arizona included plenty of sun, full pads and visits from former Sooner head coach Chuck Fairbanks and current Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.
Fairbanks, who headed the Sooners from 1967-1972, compiled a 52-15-1 record in Norman with three Big Eight conference titles. Barry Switzer was elevated to head coach after Fairbanks' departure to the NFL's New England Patriots. Fairbanks resides in the Phoenix area and visited OU's Fiesta Bowl practices a year ago.
Fairbanks observed much of the afternoon from the sideline with OU Director of Football Operations Merv Johnson. Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson and running backs coach Cale Gundy made a point to come to the sideline and greet Fairbanks. Later in practice, receivers coach and soon-to-be-head coach of the Houston Cougars, Kevin Sumlin, was spotted along side Fairbanks.
Senior fullback Ian Pleasant led off the day's warmups with his own interpretation of a haka to the delight of his teammates. For the uninitiated, learn more here.
Saturday morning, the first official Fiesta Bowl press conference for the team featured offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, quarterback Sam Bradford, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, running back Allen Patrick and receiver Malcolm Kelly at the Camelback Inn Resort in Scottsdale. View quotes and photos of the press conference.
Media from Oklahoma joined West Virginia reporters, local Arizona media and national press in interviews with OU's offensive players. Each player, bedecked in Sooner crimson, was situated behind individual tables on raised podiums with the Fiesta Bowl and BCS logos prominently displayed on the backdrops.
Position meetings and practice in uppers (shorts and shoulder pads) highlighted Friday's bowl preparations for the Oklahoma football team in Arizona. OU approached today's session as a "Monday" practice during a regular-season week.
The Sooners enjoyed warmer temps and lighter winds during the second bowl practice at Pinnacle High in Scottsdale. Coach Stoops seemed pleased with the intensity and focus of the players and ended practice earlier than scheduled.
After showers, the players and staff enjoyed a catered lunch under a big white tent located adjacent to the field. With a spread of choices including salad, blackened fish, grilled vegetables, steak, jambalaya, rice and beans, the Sooners refueled with a quality meal.
After Coach Stoops met with the media, several players drew a crowd of press including All-American offensive guard Duke Robinson, redshirt freshman corner Dominque Franks, and senior safeties D.J. Wolfe and Darien Williams.
As seniors, Wolfe and Williams were asked to share their thoughts on their final game in a Sooner uniform.
"This is my last chance," said Williams. "I want to make sure I'm taking that picture at the end. I want us to be out there smiling with those (championship) hats."
Lawton native D.J. Wolfe: "We know there will be ups and downs just like every game. We're going to stick to our game plan and play to our ability. Hopefully, we'll get the win."
Wolfe also had this message for Sooner fans back home: "We appreciate their support and hopefully as many as possible can make it out here to Arizona."
Duke Robinson was questioned on the team's reaction on returning to the Fiesta Bowl: "We have been excited for this game ever since the night of the Big 12 Championship when the Fiesta Bowl guys came into the locker room and told us we were going to play West Virginia," said Robinson.
"I think this could be statement for us. We are going to make sure we come out fully prepared."
Saturday's schedule of events include a press conference, position meetings and an afternoon practice in full pads.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, quarterback Sam Bradford, running back Allen Patrick, receiver Malcolm Kelly and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt are slated to meet with the media Saturday morning at the Marriott Camelback Inn Resort in Scottsdale. SoonerSports.com will provide video and full quotes following the event.
Oklahoma began its first full day in Arizona with position meetings at the team hotel in Scottsdale. The scout team then departed for the practice facility at Pinnacle High School at 10:35 while the rest of the team followed at 11:05. It's obvious that every team event during our stay in Arizona is planned down to the minute.
The field at Pinnacle High was immaculate and the Oklahoma staff had nothing but praise for the practice facility. "Simply one of the best setups we've had in a bowl," concluded one OU staffer.
A crimson OU flag atop the field's pole snapped smartly in the stiff breeze. Although the sun was out for practice, cool temperatures and the wind kept everyone in hoodies and jackets.
Following its usual bowl policy, media members were allowed to cover practice for the first 15 minutes before OU media relations staff and security cleared the sidelines.
View interviews with senior defensive end Alonzo Dotson, senior running back Allen Patrick, junior receiver Malcolm Kelly and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gerald McCoy by clicking the links to the right. To a man, each player emphasized the attitude of the team as the biggest difference from last season's bowl trip.
"Everyone said how great the game was last year," offered Dotson. "But we didn't come out on top. We really got after it today and started our week off right."
Although a redshirt, Gerald McCoy soaked up the bowl experience last season and agreed with Dotson. "We're tired of losing (bowl games). We want to come out and play Sooner football."
Asked about a second year of receiving bowl gear emblazoned with the Fiesta Bowl logo, senior Allen Patrick offered his advertising services to Tostitos. "I could get used to doing the tortilla thing," he joked.
The players enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at 6. Tomorrow's practice schedule will be a repeat of today. Follow media coverage of the Sooners and Mountaineers all week at Boomer Bytes presented by the U.S. Air Force.
A heavy snow greeted the Sooners Wednesday morning in Norman but the inclement weather couldn't derail a team destined for a warmer clime in the Valley of the Sun.
OU's players, coaches and support staff boarded buses under the west side of Memorial Stadium for the trip to Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol escort surrounded the convoy as Sooner fans -- recognizing who was rolling past -- waved from their cars along the route.
I'll have to admit, it's probably my favorite part of the entire day. Who wouldn't enjoy a police escort through traffic and stop lights?
Since the party had been screened at the stadium, the buses rolled onto the tarmac right up to the waiting planes. The Sooners headed west over Sayre, Okla., crossed the Texas panhandle, then soared over Albuquerque as the sun set on the two-and-a-half-hour flight (basically, old route 66 in the sky).
All was dark outside the windows until Phoenix appeared. The city stretched out in a twinkling amber grid as we descended toward Arizona. Sun Devil Stadium (the original site of the Fiesta Bowl) was the first recognizable landmark on the left side of the plane.
The team landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at 6:30 local time. An enthusiastic crowd of Fiesta Bowl volunteers rolled out the yellow carpet and greeted a Sooner contingent back for its second consecutive BCS bowl game in Arizona. Players smiled, shook hands and were plastered with Fiesta Bowl stickers as they weaved through the crowd.
Redshirt freshman back Mossis Madu displayed four of the ubiquitous little sun stickers lined up on his backpack while defensive tackle Gerald McCoy captured the scene on his camcorder.
A police escort (this time courtesy Arizona) led the OU bus convoy up the Pima Freeway to Scottsdale and the team hotel. Palm trees and cacti rolled past -- such a contrast from the cold weather back home. Although we'll enjoy warmer days, temperatures at night in the desert can plunge.
Once at the hotel, the players enjoyed pizza as the staff handed out room keys and sorted luggage. Coach Stoops held a short team meeting and players were then free to settle into their rooms or explore Phoenix prior to curfew.
The Sooners will hold position meetings in the morning before heading for practice at Pinnacle High School on Thursday. Watch for video, photos and special features from team headquarters throughout bowl week at SoonerSports.com.
|Daily Bowl Coverage|
OU Athletics Internet Services Director, Jason Matheson, will post daily reports, video, photo galleries and features from location in Arizona. SoonerVision director Dan Cavanaugh will post additional video features.
Associate A.D. for Communications Kenny Mossman and Assistant Media Relations Director Craig Moran will assist in coverage of the Sooners throughout bowl week for the Sooner fans back home.