Bob Stoops said he could see last season's opening game disaster coming. The warning sign was a lackadaisical work ethic in the offseason.
"It was kind of like the hurricane's coming, but no one's listening to you," said strength coach Jerry Schmidt. "You give 'em warning, you give 'em warning, you give 'em warning and they think, 'Oh, it's going to veer off. It's not going to hit us.' Then all of a sudden it's right on you and it's too late. Sometimes it takes a storm to wake 'em up."
Last season's storm brought four losses four the Sooners, the most in one season since Stoop inaugural year, 1999. The Oklahoma football team wasn't ready to start the 05 season and they knew it.
"We knew we didn't work to out potential last year. Everyone knew it. It wasn't a secret," said senior defensive end C.J. Ah You. "But we just had to learn the hard way the first game."
To me it sounds like the team was relying more on the logo on their helmet than they were on physical conditioning and preparation.
"I saw during the summer there were a lot more guys who were falling out and weren't completing the workouts. You could see it," said senior linebacker Zach Latimer. "It did carry over into the season."
So, have the 06 Sooners had an attitude adjustment?
"Last year, they said that was one of the worst summers we'd had in this program. . . . So we took a lot of pride going into this summer, we had to work out harder and work through these things and make us a better team." said Ah You.
This team is much too talented to approach the season half-hearted. Even with the dismissal of their starting quarterback I believe they could still win the conference if they regain that championship swagger.
Swagger comes with attitude. Not the kind of attitude the 05 team showed but the kind the Sooners showed from 2000-2004, the kind that doesn't just talk the talk but walks the walk. That's what I'm looking for Saturday night!