I am blessed to have experienced mountains and oceans covering college football the past 20 years. The only place that had them both? Where you could stand in one spot, look left and see the cedar-layered Pacific Coast Range, then right and watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean splash across sun-bathing sea lions?
I spent a day on the Oregon Coast with my friend John Hoover the day before Oklahoma’s 2006 game in Eugene. It was so beautiful I convinced myself it was a mirage.
Nope. I returned last year for Oklahoma State’s game at Oregon State. We stayed in Eugene so I could drive my pal Frank Bonner back to the Coast.
It was as breathtaking as ever.
I noticed OU and OSU fans on both road trips gulping in the scenery as well, tourists taking advantage of one of college football’s underrated pleasures — the opportunity to experience different, magnificent parts of our country.
I wonder if they are as devastated as I am.
The fires scorching Oregon on down through California and up through Washington are horrific whether you have been to the West Coast or not. If you have been, if you have been so lucky as to experience nature at her most transcendent...
Well, now you know what made me cry last week.
Thank heavens I was able to laugh some, too.
This made me laugh
Texas Tech coach Matt Wells was on the Big 12 teleconference last Monday when Carlos Silva of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal asked how badly the pandemic had affected Tech’s depth chart.
“We haven’t had any D-tackles kick yet,” Wells cracked. “But you know what, I probably need to ask around because I’ll bet somebody on my team was a square-toe straight-on kicker in high school. Now you’ve got me thinking, Carlos.
“I’ll bet you somebody wore a black Spot-Bilt shoe with either the lace or a rubber band, not a rubber band but a band that is rubber, that goes behind the upper part of their Achilles that pulled that toe up, and square-toe kicked it straight on in two steps. And kind of knocked that extra point through. That could be a 9-1-1 kicker if we ever get short...
“You can tell by the knowledge I just gave you that I did that in high school. In case you were wondering. I did. We’d score a touchdown and then the manager would jog on and launch the shoe to me. I’d pull my right shoe off, I’d put that black Spot-Bilt on, pull that thing just below my calf and knock that extra point through.
“I’m dead serious.”
Matt Wells, ladies and gentlemen. The Jerry Kramer (yes, he also kicked for the Packers) of the Big 12.
And this made me laugh
Someone asked Kansas coach Les Miles about COVID-19 testing on the same teleconference.
“The first stick that they shoved up your nose was a shock at best,” Miles said. “We’re doing a saliva test now. That’s 10 times easier on your nose. We’ve become confident and comfortable in the test. We enjoy the saliva test much more.”
Miles said this as seriously as he explains a power zone running play. Which is why it’s worth having him around again, no matter how bad his football team might be.
This made me think
I didn’t scan the crowd at Owen Field Saturday night as much as I should have, so I have no idea how vigilant Sooner fans were about keeping their masks on. Seemed as if a little more than half of them wore masks around the grounds outside the stadium in pregame.
I kept thinking of something OU athletic director Joe Castiglione told Toby Rowland on Norman’s SportsTalk 1400 The Ref Friday morning:
“Look, we’re just going to ask people to be cooperative. We don’t need any scenes. This is not political. This isn’t what people are trying to make it. This is about health, safety, welfare for yourself, for others. Period. End of story. That’s it. No drama.”
This made me relieved
After the controversy of the Chiefs-Texans show of unity last Thursday night, when NBC audio captured what sounded like booing from some fans inside Arrowhead Stadium, I was really worried about the reaction to similar player displays at college games Saturday.
I was relieved that the two displays I watched, during the Kansas State-Arkansas State game in Manhattan and the OU-Missouri State game in Norman, went off nicely.
Fans were respectfully silent as OU and K-State players locked arms along their sidelines and their unity messages played on the two stadiums’ video boards. Fans applauded after both displays.
“It was very positive,” OU quarterback Spencer Rattler noticed. “A lot of other responses have been going on in the world, with the NFL and other people, but our crowd had a great response. We were all very happy with that. Hopefully that’ll continue.”
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