Boulware gives Sooners a Red River history lesson
NORMAN — In many ways, the Oklahoma-Texas game is a regional battle, a longrunning border state war between the two programs and their fans.
The players from Oklahoma and Texas on OU’s roster understand the weight of the rivalry, but what about the ones from Georgia, North Carolina or California?
“I didn't really know too much about it,” said freshman Trey Sermon, a Georgia import. “I always knew that it was a big rivalry game. Now that I know a little bit more just by being here, listening to the players, I know it's going to be really big.”
Even if the out-of-staters didn’t understand when they arrived in Norman, running backs coach and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware makes sure they know the history of the rivalry before the game.
“The one thing they do know, this is one of the topthree rivalry games in the country,” said Boulware, who grew up in Oklahoma but played at Texas. “Everybody knows about it. It’s something when you’re a part of it and you’re able to come down that tunnel, no matter which side you’re on, it’s special. I still get goose bumps pulling into that State Fairgrounds to this day. I can feel it immediately, you can feel that intensity as soon as you pull in. “You cross that Red River, if you’re coming from Oklahoma. We used to typically take a bus down, too. It was kind of a visual of, ‘Man, we’re in enemy territory right now. Most people in Texas don’t like Oklahoma ... It’s a really special moment and I think these kids from out of state, when they experience their first one, it’s gonna hit them the same way, too.”
Sooners’ injury situation still unknown
The status of OU’s injured players — including wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Abdul Adams — is still up in the air just days before the Sooners take on Texas. “A couple of those guys were pretty banged up in that game and haven’t been able to do a whole lot,” coach Lincoln Riley said Wednesday. “We’ve tried to let a few of them let some things calm down and try to make some decisions here later in the week.” Lamb, who injured his shoulder against Iowa State, has been active on Twitter, sending somewhat cryptic messages about his status. The freshman, who has 307 yards on 17 receptions and four touchdowns, tweeted “Big time players, make big time plays in big time games,” Wednesday morning.
Does that mean he’ll be on the field at the Cotton Bowl?
“I don’t know yet,” Riley said. “He hasn’t done a whole lot with us here during the first few days. He’s going to have to make some pretty strong progress over the next few days.”
Red River Showdown helps build brand
The stakes of the annual Red River Showdown are always high. In the past, the outcome of the game has factored in to the Big 12 race and the national championship race. It can also factor into future recruiting battles between the two teams.
First-year coaches Riley and Tom Herman have already started a new chapter of the recruiting war between the two programs with Riley flipping Texas commit Ron Tatum and Herman grabbing former OU quarterback commit Cameron Rising.
Riley knows he’ll likely go up against Herman plenty on the recruiting trail, but he isn’t convinced that this year’s game between the two schools will sway a recruit to pick one over the other.
“It’s a little difficult to say,” he said. “At the end of the day, is what happens in this game, is it going to decide one guy or another? I doubt it. But there’s no question that winning just in general and doing well in big games helps you establish the brand that you want to establish.”
With his background as an Oklahoma City native and a former Texas player, OU special teams coordinator Jay Boulware knows all the ins and outs of the Red River Rivalry.