It has been said adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. Although the adversity for Oklahoma the last two seasons hasn’t been too outrageous, living out of a trailer is not something most college programs are accustomed to having to do.
The Sooners did that. With the stadium renovation project close to being completed, at least the football side of things, OU is about to move into its new digs.
The question looming is if the same camaraderie that was there living in close quarters will still be there now that OU has the state of the art facility it was aiming for.
Something to be said about being in your own type of bunker and focusing on the task at hand.
“Absolutely. We were crammed in there around a bunch of guys that you normally wouldn’t have a locker around,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “With the crammed locker room, you’re around a bunch of guys you’d never be around.
“The newer stuff, you’re all spaced out and you don’t talk to everybody every day but in this locker room you walk by somebody and you get to talk to them every day. It’s an exchange that normally wouldn’t happen so it kind of brings everybody together.”
Head coach Bob Stoops recognized that as well. In his press conference Monday afternoon, one thing Stoops made sure to remember to do was praise the last two years’ of seniors for the way they dealt with what could have been a turbulent situation.
No complaining. No griping. Just going out there and doing their job and winning back-to-back Big 12 championships in the process.
“I want to compliment – that’s what was on my mind – the last two senior classes,” Stoops said. “Everybody is excited here. Our project here, our stadium project, is about to be complete here in about another month… But to be, the last two senior classes, to have worked out of trailers and makeshift trailers and locker rooms and meeting rooms, everybody has been so positive about it.”
Stoops said the trailer situation was a little bit like two years ago when OU was unable to fly to Kansas State in a timely manner and spent eight, nine hours at the FBO in Oklahoma City.
“Us being thrown together in a small locker room and all, it may have made the guys bump into each other a little bit more, converse a little bit more, whatever. Concentrate a little more … whatever it was, it’s worked.”
As much as Stoops and the players adjusted to those living quarters the last two years, they’re excited about what’s to come.
The plan is for OU to move into its new offices toward the end of April, which would be when the coaches hit the road for recruiting once again.
Two years and two championships in the trailers. Mayfield said he’s ready to see what’s coming next in Norman.
“These past two senior classes did a great job of not letting it affect them and just having fun and enjoying it,” Mayfield said. “I thank President Boren and Joe Castiglione for making the upgrade. It’s going to be awesome.”