Sooner Saturdays Series: Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell
We're unveiling a series that highlights how unique "Sooner Saturdays" are at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. We'll hear from a wide variety of individuals who play a part in making "Sooner Saturdays" once of the most unique experiences in all of sports.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has coached in both the Super Bowl and the BCS National Championship Game, but he knows that there is only ONE Oklahoma!
"As you head closer to the field, and as you start getting to the edge of that tunnel you can see the lights of the stadium. You can see the fans. You can see the cheerleaders. You can see the signs, and you hear the end of the intro video and the roar of the crowd, and it's a special feeling. The hairs start to creep up the back of your neck and your blood starts pumping. It's time to play!"
Players and coaches are pouring blood, sweat and tears out onto the field. But "Sooner Saturdays" encompass much more than first downs and OU victories. It's the Sooner Schooner and The Pride of Oklahoma. It's the intro video and Sooner Magic. It's 86 straight sellouts, every game of the Bob Stoops' era to be precise. It's yelling "Boomer Sooner" at the top of your lungs and learning what it means to Cheer Like a Champion.
"Sooner Saturdays" actually begin with the modern-day land run for prime tailing spots on Fridays. Tents are set up starting at noon the day before the game and campus comes alive with activity well before players make their final preparations in the locker room.
When fans arrive in Norman, they pass through a sea of tailgaters and fans. From Campus Corner to the Lloyd Noble Center, the breadth of excitement travels far and wide across Norman. TVs are on and grills are fired up, and no matter how early kickoff is, there is likely a refreshing beverage in a nearby cooler. And of course, all of the OU loyalists are sporting their favorite shades of Crimson and Cream.
Closer to the stadium, the sounds of The Pride resonate throughout various pregame events. The beat of OU's marching band echoes off the statues at Heisman Park and entertains fans well before The Pride enters the stadium for their pregame and halftime shows.
Once inside the stadium, and after you've sung along to "Boomer Sooner," "Oklahoma" and the OU Chant, it's time for the intro video. The much-anticipated video is played right before the team enters the field. It signals that it's almost game time. No Sooner football game is complete without it. Goosebumps and wows are sure to ensue as the film hits its crescendo: "There's Only ONE Oklahoma!"
The team exits the locker room and walks down the tunnel. The stadium gets louder and louder, as the Sooners prepare to touch the historic turf of Owen Field. Then it happens, and you can't hear yourself think. The players run onto the field with flags celebrating the seven national titles proudly waving. They jump and touch a banner with a simple, yet powerful slogan: "Play Like a Champion."
With seven national championships and 44 conference titles, plenty of Sooners have played like champions on this hallowed field before.
Both teams are on the field, and 15 to 20 "Boomer!" and "Sooner!" chants later, it's time for kickoff. Sure, the visiting team might be a little intimidated, but that's all part of the equation. And typically, there are millions of other fans watching on television whose pulses might quicken just a little, as well.
The OU Spirit Squad, Ruf/Neks and Pride of Oklahoma lead the OU fans and students in cheers throughout the game, creating an endless stream of excitement and energy.
When the Sooners score, one of college football's most unique traditions commences. Powered by two white horses, the Sooner Schooner exits the northeast tunnel and races across the field in celebration. Driven by the Ruf/Neks, this uniquely OU conestoga has traveled across Owen Field ever since 1964.
With another OU victory in the books, "Sooner Saturday" likely isn't complete without some form of postgame celebration as Oklahoma Football fans look forward to the next game and their next opportunity to participate in one of the most colorful and vibrant home atmospheres in college football.
There's only ONE Oklahoma! There's only ONE "Sooner Saturday!"
OU inspires champions today and prepares leaders for tomorrow by enabling its student-athletes to achieve their highest academic, athletic and personal aspirations. The OU Athletics Department sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes and is completely self-supporting.
Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma. Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications, Renda Broadcasting and Griffin Television.