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Guerin-teed it was quite a week: Brock Martin and Trent Smith are kindred Bedlam spirits

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Oklahoma State defensive end Brock Martin speaks to media during the first day of the 2022 Big 12 Football Media Days at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on July 13.

Just typing a column here in the living room while trying to decide whether to flip on Lifetime’s “Merry Liddle Christmas Baby,” Hallmark’s “A Mrs. Christmas Miracle” or Ion’s “A Christmas Kiss II” for background noise.

It gets worse every year, man. I swear I need my head examined.

But at least I know my heart’s in the right place.

OK, let’s load back up on Bedlam …

This made me laugh

I know Oklahoma State defensive end Brock Martin is furious about losing at Oklahoma Saturday night. I hope he takes a little solace from delivering the best player quote from either program last week.

“OU is a big game. It’s always a big game, an in-state rivalry. They like to say that we’re not their rivals and they don’t care about us,” Martin told reporters after practice last Tuesday night. “But I think that’s ridiculous.”

I love that so much.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree with Martin, it’s just great that he has the conviction to say it. It isn’t trash talk. It’s just a hardcore college football player, a player from Oologah rooted in Bedlam, speaking his mind.

Martin reminds me a lot of Trent Smith, the hardcore OU tight end from Clinton who was very good but also very sure of himself when he played in the early 2000s.

“If OU wins the game, you don’t really hear much about it outside the Sunday paper,” Smith once said of Bedlam. “If OSU wins, it’s Christmas all year for them. A freakin’ orange Christmas.”

Again, debate the merits all you want. Just be sure to celebrate the player for speaking out.

“I think it would feel real good knowing OU has to win their last game of the season to be bowl eligible,” Martin continued at practice last week, shooting us straight as ever. “Going in Saturday we’re gonna kind of know what’s going on with that.”

Somewhere, Smith is smiling that OU won Bedlam and doesn’t have to worry about winning at Texas Tech this week to become bowl eligible.

I’ll bet he’s also smiling that he has a kindred Bedlam spirit in the quotable Mr. Martin.

And this made me laugh

My pal Marshall Scott with Pistols Firing asked OSU receiver Brennan Presley last Tuesday what he was doing during Tyreek Hill’s 2014 punt return in Norman.

“I remember watching it at home,” Presley said. “I think I was eating pizza rolls. The three-meat.”

Scott, no beats skipped: “Oven or microwave?”

“Oven,” Presley said. “You can’t put them in the microwave. That’s just not good.”

Fact. Take it from your friendly neighborhood sports columnist who still eats pepperoni pizza rolls.

No kidding, I really need to have my head examined.

This made me think

Mike Gundy said a couple different things about Spencer Sanders’ four interceptions in postgame late Saturday night.

During the head coach’s opening statement: “Obviously Spencer didn’t play very well.”

During the head coach’s response to a question about the four picks: “A lot of pressure, right? It’s hard to throw when there’s pressure on you. We just didn’t protect him very well, and put him on the run a lot.”

Both things were true.

Spencer played hard in Norman. He made some eye-popping plays to keep the Cowboys around in the second half, admirable since he was pretty much all the Cowboys had going offensively.

But no, he did not always play well. Two of the four interceptions were clearly on him, the first being a deep ball where he did not see lurking OU safety Billy Bowman ready to swoop in and make a play, and the second a fourth-quarter overthrow into the end zone.

Also no, OSU did not protect him well at all. Brent Venables attacked the Cowboys’ deficient offensive line with an array of pressures, and Sanders ran for cover all night.

Two jobs for Gundy next offseason: Identify a starting quarterback, assuming Sanders figures five years of college football is enough. And identify a plan to fix an offensive line that has been leaking, it feels like, since Brandon Weeden left Stillwater.

Another laugh

The second-best player quote all Bedlam week came in the OU interview room late Saturday night. It was from DaShaun White, the linebacker who intercepted Sanders’ fourth-quarter overthrow.

“That was the gift of all gifts to be honest with you,” White said. “I was just in post (coverage). He overthrew the guy and it was pretty easy to catch that one.”

Another thought

I saw this postgame quote from OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and cocked my head like a puppy: “I was probably a little too conservative at times late in the third and in the fourth quarter running the football the way we did. We had opportunities to open it up and didn’t.”

Really? I got the strong sense Lebby erred when, up 28-3 heading into the third quarter, he didn’t ride running backs Eric Gray and Jovantae Barnes enough.

Using Lebby’s referenced time frame, here’s how those third- and fourth-quarter possessions went:

1 – Two handoffs to Gray followed by a third-and-5 drop by Jalil Farooq. Time off the clock: 1:13. That series was on Farooq more than Lebby.

2 – This was the one right after OSU pulled within 28-10. Gabriel ran for 5 after setting up to throw, missed Marvin Mims downfield and then was sacked by Nathan Latu. Time off the clock: 1:06. That series was on Lebby.

3 – This was after OSU made it 28-13. Gray 7-yard carry, Gray no gain and then Gabriel incomplete short pass to Drake Stoops. Time off the clock: 1:07. That one was on OU’s offensive line, for a second-down breakdown, and Gabriel.

4 – An incomplete pass due to OSU coverage, a 5-yard Barnes run and a 3-yard dump-off to Gray. Time off the clock: 1:27. Barnes should have gotten 5 on first down. Another series on Lebby.

5 – This was after White’s interception. Barnes 7-yard run, Gray 2-yard run, Gray no gain. Time off the clock: 1:18. Another series on the offensive line.

6 – Gray 2-yard run, Gray 3-yard run, Gabriel deflected incompletion. Time off the clock: 1:00.

OU throwing on third down with less than 2 minutes remaining was quite the, um, choice.

7 – Gabriel kneel-down for the win.

In retrospect, my head is still cocked over the whole scenario, plan and execution included.

This made me smile

Read Eli Lederman’s story on OU punter Michael Turk’s on-field postgame proposal to OU softball star Grace Lyons if you haven’t. Take a good look at Daniel Shular’s Tulsa World photo above the story, and the looks on Turk’s teammates’ faces.

There are so many things bigger than a college football game, rivalry or not. Here’s an obvious one. Just beautiful.

This made me cry

That Lifetime, Hallmark and Ion weren’t at Owen Field to turn “Mikey Loves Gracie” into a special holiday season production.

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Sports Columnist

I'm the proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the OU Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.

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