Cotton Bowl notebook: Sooners visit children's hospital
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 3:46 AM
Oklahoma's football team visited patients at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas on Wednesday.
The players signed autographs and took pictures, as well as passed out OU visors, hats and team posters.
"It's awesome for the Cotton Bowl to have us come out here and set something up like this," Sooners quarterback Blake Bell said. "Being around the kids helps us get our minds off the game a little bit and also allows us to have some fun. It definitely puts things in perspective."
Oklahoma lineman Austin Woods, who discovered in October that he was in remission after battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma, enjoyed the stop.
"One of the things I wanted to do after I was diagnosed, because it really opened my eyes to the world of cancer, was to use my platform as an OU football player to help others, especially kids, who are going through the same thing," Woods said.
Points galore: Oklahoma and Texas A&M have scored 40 or more points seven times this season.
So does Bob Stoops expect a shootout in Friday's Cotton Bowl matchup?
"Well, we have been in a bunch of them," Stoops said on Wednesday. "Our players have played in some tight situations in the last several weeks and have responded well. They have competed all the way to the end of those games.
"You never know how it is going to go."
Fierce competitors: Stoops and Kevin Sumlin may be fierce competitors for years.
From Friday night's Cotton Bowl to future recruiting battles for players, the Oklahoma and Texas A&M head coaches always will work hard to better their respective programs. But they won't let it get in the way of a long friendship.
"I don't know about Kevin, but business is business," Stoops said. "I mean, we're friends, but you have to do your job ...
"We understand that it's just the competitive world that we live in."
Sumlin was an OU assistant for Stoops between 2003-08. He said his first reaction to the Cotton Bowl matchup was "Oh boy."
"We don't make the schedule, but that doesn't stop us from being friends," Sumlin said. "Once the game starts, we are both trying to win it and, after that, we will go back to life as usual."
Seeking elusive victory: Texas A&M has played at least one game in Cowboys Stadium in each of the past four seasons.
The Aggies are still looking for their first victory in that stadium.
"We've played in here before and so has Oklahoma," Sumlin said. "This is a place we felt we had to get in a little bit and practice in before we play. You can't help but be excited to come into a building like this and know that there won't be an open seat in the house Friday night."
Adding new looks: Both coaches were asked if they would add new looks.
"Anytime you are playing you can add a wrinkle or two," Stoops said. "I think everyone does."
Sumlin said the extra time - especially around the postseason award circuit - has helped. He also added that there was no reason to rush new looks into the playbook.
"I think how you manage (time) becomes important. The players, which is something I learned when I was at Oklahoma, the later the game, if you do things too early the players can get bored. You got to keep them interested," Sumlin said.
Stoops added that the Sooners' younger players - especially quarterbacks - received plenty of work early in bowl practices.
"Early on moving forward, you work on some things that you plan on doing next year with some younger players," Stoops said. "That is what we did with some of our quarterbacks that may be able to run the ball a bit more."
Oklahoma's Brennan Clay visits with Colin Wilkins, 2, as the team visited the Children's Medical Center of Dallas Wednesday as part of their trip to the Cotton Bowl. Holding Wilkins is his mom, Melissa, and looking on is his father, Aaron. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World