By Bryant Crews August 21, 2022 5:35 pm
By Bryant Crews |
Oklahoma’s changing mindset and energy within the program has been something that outsiders and onlookers have spoken about in detail since Brent Venables arrival in December. Less than two weeks before taking the field for the first game of the season, players remain steadfast in their belief that something is different about the energy at Oklahoma.
In a series from SoonerSports.com called “The Hurry-Up,” players were asked a series of questions ranging from what’s taking place on the field to who’s stood out in fall camp and in the offseason training program. In Volume 3, several players spoke about the energy in Brent Venables’ first offseason.
One of the elder statesmen of the program, and someone who figures to contribute heavily in 2022, Drake Stoops, had this to say when asked about the energy emanating from Norman about Brent Venables’ first season in Norman.
“The energy is tremendous among the fans and us,” Stoops said. “All of us have bought into what Coach (Venables) has brought. His energy is contagious, and that spreads to us. We’re all just excited and working day by day to get ready for the opener.”
Linebacker David Ugwoegbu added: “The energy around this team is amazing because you can feel that there’s something different. This is my fourth year, and I’ve never experienced anything like this, as far as the chemistry, the bond all the guys share. It’s not so much offense vs. defense, it’s a whole brotherhood, and we feel something special building.”
All offseason, it looks as if this team’s been having fun together and if the Party at the Palace is any indication, it’s a program that’s having a great time right now.
Sophomore defensive back Billy Bowman spoke on the fun this team is having as it prepares for 2022.
“As everyone can tell, something different is in the air this year, and I feel like the fun has been brought back into the game,” Bowman said. “When you bring the fun back, everything else starts to click.”
That’s a pretty impressive thing to be able to say in the remaining days of fall camp. While having fun, the Sooners seem to have the right mindset and are putting together good practices, according to quarterback Dillon Gabriel.
“The squad’s been good. Everyone’s been attacking practices with the right mindset,” Gabriel said. “Of course, we’re pushing and grinding, especially on these long days of fall camp.”
Even in the thick of camp, the mindset and energy have been something players have continued to rave about. There’s been a shift in the culture and the players appear completely bought in.
Culture, mindset and energy matter. What comes next is how that translates to the field. How do the Sooners respond to that fresh energy and mindset on the gridiron? We’ll begin to find out in less than two weeks.
Part of what made the recent national championship Clemson teams so successful was the buy-in from the guys who were determined to shed the labels associated with previous Clemson regimes. Oklahoma, while more prestigious historically, is in the midst of a national championship drought that’s lasted more than 20 years. They haven’t won a single College Football Playoff game despite numerous appearances. Yes, the talent could’ve used a boost, especially defensively, but there was an edge those teams lacked.
The energy and mindset that Brent Venables cultivated and mastered at Clemson have seemingly been put in place at Oklahoma. With a season on the horizon, that shift in mental attitude and how Oklahoma players carry themselves may be the difference needed to help the Sooners find success in the College Football Playoff and get back to playing in national championship games.
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2022 Oklahoma Sooners Football, Billy Bowman, Brent Venables, College Football Playoff, David Ugwoegbu, Dillon Gabriel, Drake Stoops, Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Football, Football
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By Bryant Crews August 21, 2022 5:35 pm