OU football notebook: Riding the wave
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2012
10/11/12 at 2:51 AM
Oklahoma fans were down on the Sooners following a home loss to Kansas State.
The future was ominous, it appeared, if you gauged message boards and sports talk radio.
Things quickly changed after a dominating 41-20 victory at Texas Tech last weekend.
Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was asked how difficult it is to go from one week of "woe is me" to another week where everything is OK.
"Don't pay attention to outside distractions," Heupel said. "You know who you are as a program, player and coach. You go about your business every day.
"If you pay attention to outside influences that have not a ton of understanding that's actually going on or not watching the tape or not out there every day, you are setting yourself up for failure on both ends of it."
Making his debut: Wide receiver Durron Neal had his first career receptions against Texas Tech.
The true freshman had 13- and 25-yard catches in the 41-20 road victory.
Neal said he's stayed patient for his chance to play.
"Coach Jay (Norvell) always said when opportunity comes, you have to take it," Neal said. "I was excited when I got in, that I could contribute to the team."
Neal said it'll boost his confidence.
"With never playing in a college game, you're nervous, but after getting that first hit, that first catch, you're fine," Neal said. "It's like backyard football."
Remembering the moment: Kenny Stills' favorite memory of the OU-Texas series came in his first game.
"My favorite moment would have to be my first touchdown when I was a freshman," Stills said. "It wasn't expected. I didn't think the opportunity was gonna come as fast as it did, and it did."
OU defeated the Longhorns 28-20 in 2010, with Stills grabbing a 16-yard touchdown pass from Landry Jones in the first quarter.
Stopping the rush: Texas defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor are expected to be a handful for the Sooners.
The dynamic pair have combined for 10 sacks and two forced fumbles this season. They also have registered 15 tackles for loss.
"They're top draft picks. All of those guys on that defense are fast and athletic," OU offensive line coach James Patton said. "Okafor and Jeffcoat have made a bunch of plays. We've got to do a good job on the edge. There aren't too many guys who can block them, just watching film. It'll be a big challenge."