Sooners looking like team, program, Venables sought to create (a little like 2000 Sooners, too)
In the Cotton Bowl's postgame interview room, the intangibles came to life
Any time Oklahoma beats Texas to remain unbeaten …
Or, really, any time the Sooners take an undefeated squad to the Cotton Bowl, one previous season screams into memory.
Could it be like 2000?
Could it be another Red October?
Could this team win it all like that team won it all?
Well, it can’t be another Red October because the next two teams on the schedule are Central Florida and Kansas, a far cry from Kansas State and Nebraska, ranked Nos. 2 and 1 back in the day.
Nor did the Sooners just lay a 63-14 thrashing on the Longhorns like they did so long ago, ferociously announcing their re-entrance into the top echelon of the game.
Of course, this OU team still has every chance that one did to make history and should it get the chance you can bet it won’t be a two-touchdown underdog as it was Jan. 3, 2001, in Miami Gardens where it stopped Florida State 13-2 for the program’s seventh national championship.
So there’s that.
But there is also the fact that, before exiting the stadium four short days ago, his 2023 Sooners having just stopped Texas 34-30, Brent Venables could not help but talk about that 2000 squad that couldn’t lose.
It was notable he brought that team up at all.
It was notable how and why he did.
And it was notable, too, how before Venables, Dillon Gabriel, Jalil Farooq, Danny Stutsman and Gentry Williams left the postgame interview room, all that big picture stuff Venables loves to preach, remind and reinforce really is taking hold and it’s hard to imagine it not having a lot to do with topping the Longhorns.
“We were a bunch of misfits back in 2000. We didn’t know how good we could be. That was a group, they were tough as all get out … They just came every day and went to work and these guys have been exactly that.
“We’re a little shinier in some spots than that group, but also I think the parallels with that group is we really just didn’t know how good we could be, and what that team was committed to was just improving each and every day.”
Then came a story I don’t recall ever having known about that 2000 team.
I was the The Norman Transcript’s OU football beat writer back then, prior to becoming the section’s editor and frequent columnist, and still I have no memory of knowing what Venables was about to let out of the bag.
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