Notre Dame Stadium is one of the historic venues in American sports, but OU coach Bob Stoops said something like that is usually lost on football teams. The Sooners don’t take in many sites in a regular-season road trip.
“All we do is when we land, generally, we’ll take the team over to whatever stadium we’re playing at. They check their pads and make sure all their stuff’s there and we’re not missing something. Then we go out and do a little substitution deal on the field, so they’re a little familiar with the stadium. That’s it,” he said. “We don’t go on these trips to tour or go to wine country or anything else. We’re pretty much there to get ready to play.”
So, does that mean there won’t be any glimpses at “The Word of Life” mural (also known as “Touchdown Jesus”) or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (the golden dome) on the trip to campus Saturday?
“Nothing more cool about pulling up in a bus, walking into a bad visitor’s locker room and going on the field. We do it all the time. Believe me, I’m giving Notre Dame respect, I’m not discounting that, I’m just saying, as a coach, you’re not involved in that part of it,” Stoops said. “In other words, once you’re pulling up, you’re pulling up to compete. You just don’t think of those things, or you don’t really care about what the band may look like or anybody else. You just kinda get in your work mode and go.”
Reverse the trend: The Sooners meeting with Notre Dame will mark the 10th between the programs. OU has struggled mightily in those games, going 1-9 with one of the losses being the 7-0 loss in 1957 that ended OU’s historic 47-game winning streak.
Now, only two of the games (the Sooners’ 34-30 loss at Notre Dame in 1999 and last season’s 30-13 loss at Owen Field) have come in the players’ lifetimes.
Nonetheless, players know the history.
“That’s one of those streaks that you really don’t realize and it really doesn’t play much of a factor in the game or you don’t really think about it. You definitely hear from some of the older guys,” OU center Gabe Ikard said. “I remember last year we got a couple letters from some guys that played when the last time we beat them. I realize how important it is for the fans. We realize that this is one of those games that our fans are going to travel very well to and support us fully so I guarantee you we’ll work our hardest to try to come out with that one for everybody.”