Mossman Prophecies No. 023
July 2, 2007
Musings from a chillier than expected Fiesta Bowl...
Oklahoma’s official travel party is in the fifth
day of its trip to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Here’s
a quick look at our time in Scottsdale thus far.
The Pinnacle of Practice Sites
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,
then the way to a coach’s heart is through his
practice facility. The Fiesta Bowl hit a home run on
Oklahoma’s facility at Pinnacle High School.
From a spacious locker room to well-manicured fields,
it fits the bill. And to be honest, that is the case
at most bowl games. At the Rose Bowl a few years ago,
the team practiced on soccer fields at Loyola Marymount.
To a team that spends its August on rugby fields, the
sport of choice matters not. The grass was great and
that’s really what matters most. Pinnacle HS
too has great grass.
The point on which the Fiesta Bowl scores big is
proximity to the team hotel. At other recent bowls
the drive to practice has chewed up a minimum of 30
minutes and often times more. Not here. The drive is
15-20 minutes tops, which means the team can walk from
its position meetings to the buses and, even after
padding up, still be on the practice field inside one
Traveling to any metropolitan area requires
some acclimation. That’s true in the Phoenix
area too now that it is inhabited by some four million
The one thing that most in the Oklahoma party have
learned already, however, is the location of the closest
Our intrepid web master, Jason Matheson, ventured down
for breakfast on day one. When the cost of “Fluffy
Eggs” had the potential for a $50 tab it sent
shock waves through the travel party and all the way
to the nearest Safeway, Albertson’s, etc.
The Fairmont Princess Resort is a beauty and the service
is second to none, but the per diem is what it is.
Pass the Fluffy Pop Tarts.
FOX has all of the BCS games this year with
the exception of the Rose Bowl (if you’ve been
watching ESPN you might be mistaken into thinking that
the Rose is the only BCS game). It is FOX’s first
excursion into the BCS and the network is blazing both
Mike Birks, who has 25 years of NFL experience, is
producing the Fiesta Bowl and the national title game.
He and his director and broadcast team observed practice
on Wednesday. Birks said the group had already spent
six hours breaking down tape of Oklahoma and Boise
State and had another session scheduled before the
game is played.
The approach to detail is impressive and the benefits
are bound to manifest themselves on the telecast.
The broadcast team of Thom Brenneman, Barry Alvarez,
Charles Davis and Chris Myers is making a maiden voyage
of sorts, at least for the college game. To get the
crew ready, FOX assigned them a few NFL games, including
some that were just dummies (did not actually go out
over the air).
Still, the familiarity should be good. Davis has done
several OU games in recent years as a broadcaster for
TBS and Alvarez was an assistant coach at Iowa when
Sooner head man Bob Stoops was a graduate assistant.
The two stood side-by-side for much of Wednesday’s
Myers, who will be on the sideline, was in Norman two
weeks ago to do a number of interviews with players
and coaches, and Brenneman is one of those preparation
freaks that will be more than ready in the play-by-play
Some will remember Brenneman on WGN with the Cubs.
More recently he called the Arizona Diamondbacks. He
gave up that gig at the end of last season so he could
move to Cincinnati and join his father, the legendary
Marty Brenneman, in calling Reds games.
Chamber of Commerce Ticked at Mother Nature
For those that failed to read the long-term forecast,
the suitcase may be revealing some sad results here
in the Phoenix area. The temperature has been less
than 60 degrees for two of the four days we’ve
Those planning to don shorts or bask by the pool are
sorely disappointed in what residents of this area
are calling one of the coolest stretches they can remember.
Big Zach Attack
When this team has its reunion in 10 years, the one
guy everyone will look for is Zach Latimer. He is a
true character in the most flattering use of the phrase.
He spoke to the Boys and Girls Clubbers that attended
Wednesday’s practice, and did a great job.
Zach has one of those smiles that lights up and the
kids were wide-eyed listening to him talk. Unimpressed
with his effort, Latimer muttered, “My public-speaking
skills need some work,” as he walked back to
the locker room.
The humility was nice, but Zach was off the mark. The
kids’ faces gave a far different appraisal.
The character part? In a story published a couple weeks
ago, Rufus Alexander revealed that Latimer sometimes
stands next to him in the huddle screaming “Ruuuu” as
many of the Sooner fans do when Alexander makes a play.
That’s par for the course for Latimer and precisely
the sort of thing that will make him a favorite when
this team gathers in years to come.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.