Gabe Ikard Press Conference

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 16, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Offensive Lineman Gabe Ikard
Dec. 16, 2013

On the whirlwind of the last few days and winning several awards:
“It’s been fun. The trip to New York was a really good time. I’m honored by the recognition that I have gotten. When it comes down to it, it’s only possible because of the great people I have in my life and the great teammates I have on the field. When it comes to the offensive line it’s more of a group award. I have had four or five guys out there helping me all year long. They know how thankful I am for them. I’m just honored to be able to represent the University of Oklahoma with some of those awards. It has been my goal to represent this place well and represent my family well.”

On facing Alabama:
“It’s going to be a great challenge. Obviously it’s a team that has won the last two and three out of the last four national championships. They were one play away from going to play for another one. We realize how talented they are. Obviously, we know no one expects us to win and no one expects it to be a close game. None of that really matters to us. We are going to prepare the same way to get ready for a great team. We respect them but we’re not scared to play them. They’re extremely talented and we realize that. You have got to be confident going into a football game or else you’re going to get blown out.”

On if they draw motivation from being the underdog:
“It’s one of those things where it’s a bowl game and anything can happen. We realize that all of the factors that go into it really don’t matter at this point. It comes down to preparation, who prepares better, who practices better leading up to the game and who executes better on the field. SEC vs. Big 12 doesn’t matter. It’s one game. Anything can happen in one game. If we go out there and play well it’s going to be a good game for us. We’re excited for the opportunity. We realize that a lot of people are doubting us and deservedly so. Alabama has been the king of college football and they deserve all of that respect. It’s up to us to go down there and play them well and go get a Sugar Bowl victory.”

On if it’s exciting for him to go up against Alabama’s defensive line:
“It’s a big opportunity for the guys on our o-line to really put some good things on tape for the NFL scouts. There’s no doubt about that. They’re very big and talented up front. Obviously, (C.J.) Mosley and those guys in the second level, then you have got some All-Americans and first round draft picks in the back. They’re the most talented team we will play and the most talented team we have played in my four-and-a-half years here so we’re excited for the opportunity. This is what you call a money game for a player. It’s one of those games where you can show your ability against the best competition. That’s important for the seniors who are out on the field. There will be great matchups all over the field and it’s up to us to execute well, go out there and earn some more respect and for the seniors earn some cash.”

On if the bowl games are about SEC vs. Big 12 and conference vs. conference:
“No, I think that’s irrelevant. Obviously the SEC has dominated college football with however many it’s been in a row with national champions. What it comes down to is two teams playing each other. It comes down to the team that prepares the best and executes the best is going to win the game. It doesn’t matter that they have played an SEC schedule and we have played a Big 12 schedule. That’s irrelevant. We play a different style than most of the teams in their conference and they play a different style than most of the teams in our conference. It comes down to looking at what they do and how we prepare for it. They fact that they’re in the SEC and we’re in the Big 12, I don’t think that matters.”

On what he remembers about playing against Mack Brown’s teams at Texas:
“Great coach. He really put one of the premier programs together. I was able to talk to him on my trip to New York in the elevator and he was very complimentary and very classy to me. He has always been a guy that isn’t scared to tell you how he feels, tell you you’re a good player and stuff like that. He has always been very complimentary, very nice to the guys on our team. It’s a shame that he has got to end his career like that but I thought his statement about returning Texas back to the premier program in college football was some powerful and honest stuff. It takes a lot of integrity and a lot of courage to be able to say something like that. What he has done for that program can’t be overstated. They have the best talent in the country every year. They just haven’t been able to put it together over the last couple of years. I’m interested to see who they hire and how it will affect our program. Mack Brown is a classy dude and I wish him the best for whatever he does going forward.”

On what young players have looked good in practices leading up to the Sugar Bowl:
“Offensively, K.J. Young has looked really good. Austin Bennett has put some good days together also. We’re trying some different guys on the offensive line and I’m not going to tell you guys about that. We have a couple of younger guys that we have moved around. One of them is looking really good at center. That’s promising and that’s good going forward. I think Charles Walker on the defensive line has a great future ahead of him. He might be the most explosive guy we have on the team right now. If he is able to develop the skill work that Coach Montgomery has been able to develop in the guys that are playing right now he could be an animal on the football field because he is extremely explosive.”



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