OSU And OU Face First Road Tests Saturday

Monday, September 12th 2011, 3:12 pm
By: News 9

Layna Dewell, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – This weekend marks the first time the Oklahoma Sooners and OSU Cowboys hit the road for away games this season.

The top-ranked Sooners are headed to the Sunshine State for a top-five matchup against No. 5 Florida State, while the Cowboys head east to Tulsa to face the Golden Hurricane for some in-state rivalry action.

"Our methods going through the week are always the same but at the end of the day you can't help but be a little more excited," said Stoops during the Big 12 teleconference Monday. "Guys just naturally are they understand all that's at stake and the challenge of going down there and the fact that the whole country wants to see it-- you don't have to say much."

"There's a huge following of Oklahoma State fans in Tulsa," said Gundy. "I think it is a rivalry and it's going to be a huge game, and we certainly have to have a great week of practice."

One year ago the Sooners hosted Florida State in Norman. In that game, the No. 10 Sooners rolled over the No. 17 Seminoles 47-17.

That memory is still fresh in the minds of many Seminole fans, but Coach Stoops says even though Florida lost, he doesn't think it gives them any extra motivation for this game.

"I don't see why it does, they're a different team than they were a year ago, we're a much different team as well than we were a year ago so that was that. That's long gone; everything's brand new this year," said Stoops.

For the Sooners, Saturday's game is about fundamentals and discipline.

"Much like when you're at home, just to stick with what works for us wherever we are at and that's playing smart, being very disciplined in how we play, being smart in penalties and assignments those kind of things," said Stoops. "Being physical and playing hard always works, regardless of where you're at."

The OU offense will face the rough and tough Seminole defense, but the Sooners game plan once again goes back to fundamentals.

"Just being really strong with fundamentals and how they're protecting, being assignment correct when they blitz that we have the right people accounted for and I think always being able to run the football helps you to protect the quarterback as well," said Stoops. "I am sure they're a much better team than they were a year ago, but I think we're a better team as well."

Saturday, Coach Stoops will also coach against his brother Mark Stoops who is the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Florida State. Something Bob isn't exactly looking forward to.

"There isn't added meaning to the game because we're bothers I think it takes away from the competition for both of us because somebody has to lose, it isn't what you want," said Bob. "Unless it's a championship game where someone has to win it, it's not what you want, to be playing your brother."

For the No. 8 Cowboys, Saturday's game will reunite many players that have played against each other for years.

"So many of these players have competed against each other in high school football not only in Oklahoma but also in Texas," said Gundy.

Looking at the state of Oklahoma alone, OSU boasts nearly 30 players from the state with nine players from the Tulsa area while TU has about 50 players from Oklahoma with more than half of them from Tulsa or the surrounding area.

Last season when Tulsa visited Stillwater for the third game of the season, Oklahoma State blasted the Golden Hurricane 65-28.

Regardless of that win or how familiar the two teams are with each other, Coach Gundy says the most important part of their game plan is improving in all three phases of the game.

"We're pretty familiar with what their approach is," said Gundy. "Our preparation obviously is based on trying to get better in all three phases."

"Should be good for both schools should be a lot of people there and a lot of excitement," said Gundy.

For many fans, Saturday can't get her soon enough. But if you set aside the excitement of the in-state rivalry, OU's top ranking or the big game in Tallahassee, Stoops seems to think it all comes down to one thing, being ready.

"Be ready for it," said Stoops. "This is why you're here, to be in these kinds of games."

Oklahoma will kick off against Florida State in Tallahassee at 7 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

Oklahoma State will play in a late night game against Tulsa with a 9 p.m. kickoff that will be televised by FSN.