There’s been talk that this weekend’s tilt between No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Oklahoma could be the final edition of the Bedlam rivalry played in Stillwater. I’m not sure that notion would break the hearts of too many OSU fans, but let’s hear from the other side?
This week, a handful of Sooners met with media to discuss the upcoming Bedlam matchup, and they had plenty to say about the high-stake rivalry game which carries even higher stakes this year.
On How This Year’s Game Will Be Different
OU safety Patrick Fields: “I’ve had some success playing Oklahoma State, but I don’t think they’re the same team. Well, for a fact they’re not the same team that I’ve played like in the previous years if that makes sense.
“… So I don’t think we’re even expecting to see the same team that we have in previous years, so we’re kind of just approaching it where we gotta go take it against a very great team, one of the top teams in the country.”
OU TE Jeremiah Hall (On Prior Years’ Success): “It’s good for trash talk. It’s good for tweets and stuff like that, but it doesn’t have an impact on this game at all. We respect our rivals. It’s kind of the same way we treat the Big 12 championship. We’re not defending champs. We’ve got to go out there and earn it, and it’s the same with this rivalry. We’re not riding on the success of the past. We’ve got to go out there and earn the win because they’re a good team and so that’s what we’re going to have to do this weekend.”
OU DL Isaiah Thomas: “It’s a special game and like I said after we won against Iowa State, it’s the Oklahoma Super Bowl is what I’ve heard it called before.”
On Spencer Sanders
Fields: “I think just looking at their players across the board, their quarterback particularly, he’s having one of his best years, really his best year in college. He’s grown a lot as a player, making a lot of really good throws. Same thing with their offensive line. Running back’s a tremendous player, one of the premiere running backs in college football.
“[Sanders] being able to make plays with his legs, whether that’s through taking off and scrambling or whether that’s through extending plays, getting out of sacks, making crazy throws on the run, accurate throws on the run.
“I think this day in age it’s kinda like difficult. Because before you either had a quarterback who just runs the ball or a traditional pocket passer. But now you see quarterbacks like Spencer Sanders who are great at doing both which is difficult to game plan against as a defense because we’ve got to make sure we get him on the ground cause he’s just so great at extending plays with his legs.”
Thomas: “I think he’s definitely improved in the throwing game. We all know he’s very mobile. He can hurt you with his feet, but I think he’s improved throwing the ball. Cause I know at times early in your career, you’re not the developed player that you are later on into your career and you can see him making those strides and the work that’s been put in so that’s what I’ve been seeing on tape as an improvement standpoint by him and it’s actually good to see. Competition’s always fun, so he’s been out there playing and leading his team to where they are now. It’s been impressive to see.”
On OSU’s Defense
Fields: “Both of our programs are just like taking off. They’ve got a new defensive coordinator, if I’m not mistaken, here recently in the last couple of years, and he’s just done a tremendous job of taking over that defense and the same thing as well with Coach (Alex) Grinch. Even going back to last year, it was kind of like the same thing going into the game. Two defenses that were highly ranked in terms of pass defense, rush defense and it’s kind of been like the culture of the team. I think it’s kind of good because the stigma around the Big 12 is like nobody plays defense. Well now here it is we’re kind of getting recognized for playing great defense. But I think it’s just the great leadership of their program as well as ours.”
On Favorite Bedlam Memories:
Fields: “Kind of just like growing up and watching it in high school. Watching Steven Parker, Dom Alexander, Q [Quentin Hayes] all of the older guys above me come in and make plays, and as well as on the other side like Dillon Stoner on Oklahoma State and guys like that. It’s big to the state. A lot of us guys from the state grew up watching it and wishing and dreaming to play in it.”
Thomas: I think the special moments that I would say, specifically last year, the feeling of walking off the field with the players we had like Ronnie Perkins and Rhamondre Stevenson, not knowing it was their last game but playing as if it was like one of their last games.
“Not any of the specific moments but just the feeling of winning a game like because of how special it is to our state and how impactful it is to college football.”
Hall: “Definitely two years ago when Jalen Hurts was the quarterback and Nick Basquine was here and we had the little fake reverse and nick threw the ball to Jalen. Jalen throws the X. I think that week Dak Prescott had done that little (hip warmup), and Nick kind of replicated the same thing so that’s probably my favorite.”
On the Possibility of This Being the Last Bedlam in Stillwater
Fields: “That definitely would be weird. There’s probably a way that they’ll still do it through a nonconference game or whatever it is. But I think they’ve definitely gotta keep the tradition rolling because that’s what I grew up watching. Just thinking back over the years to all of the crazy plays, the great plays that have been made. The one that’s the most in my memory was like 2015-16, Jordan Thomas had like two interceptions in the game. One he returned for a touchdown.”
” … I visited Oklahoma State. I was recruited by them, so I’m used to the paddles slapping on the boards and all of that and of course I’ve played there. So that type of environment is like the Cowboys’ stadium where it’s completely different. I think that will be the biggest thing that will be different. But I’m looking forward to the challenge of it. I think it will be cool.”
Hall: “Honestly, their fans make it really tough. I’ve only been up there a couple of times, but, man, those paddles kind of get to you. The fans and how loud they are. How much they’re into the game. It’s kind of like our stadium. There’s not much space between the sideline and the stands so if you let that get into your head, then you’re in for a long ride up there. But we’ve been in these types of environments before so I think that we’ll be prepared.”
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