The days are flying by in our Countdown to Kickoff! Today we’re 78 days out from the return of actual football for our beloved Oklahoma Sooners. Speaking of beloved Sooners, one of the most physically imposing players in recent memory was No. 78, Orlando Brown Jr. Brown was a fan favorite for his tenacity on the field and his leadership off the field.
When Orlando Brown arrived in Norman in 2014, he already had the natural-born tools to excel at the tackle position. It was up to the Oklahoma coaching staff to harness his gifts and turn him into a machine, and that’s precisely what happened. Three years and 40 starts later, Brown was transformed into one of the premier linemen in college football, and earned Unanimous All-American status in 2017.
A narrative that the Georgia native has carried with him throughout his football journey has been his father’s legacy. Brown’s father, the original Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown, was a standout offensive tackle in the NFL for years. Tragically, Orlando Brown Sr. passed away unexpectedly when Brown Jr. was only 14 years old. Jr. carries his father’s memory with him both on and off the field, and things came full circle after Brown was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, one of his father’s former teams, in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He likely would’ve gone much higher and earned a lot more money in the short term if not for a rough NFL Combine performance, but he’s still in a great position to succeed.
Now let’s cover the day we missed since our last countdown post:
79 days! - The 1979 Oklahoma Sooners
The 1979 Oklahoma Sooners did what OU did quite often in the Barry Switzer era: dominated. Led by senior running back Billy Sims and junior QB J.C. Watts, the ‘79 Sooners finished the season 11-1, including an undefeated Big 8 Conference record. The lone loss came in October against the Texas Longhorns, but Oklahoma rebounded, concluding its campaign with a 24-7 whipping of Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to happen that season wasn’t interesting at all when it occurred. In Oklahoma’s opening game of the season, a non-conference bout between the Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes brought together two of the biggest giants in Oklahoma football history. Billy Sims and, yes, No. 41 Bob Stoops, played against each other, and that moment is forever immortalized in this photo of a leaping Stoops attempting to stop the reigning Heisman winner. As they say, the rest is history.
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