Slam Your Opinion: Q&A with Jack Mildren

The former Sooner quarterback goes one-on-one with OUInsider.com.

Tito Hernandez: What was it like to be part of the "Game of the Century" when Oklahoma, ranked No. 2 lost to No. 1 Nebraska 35-31? What are your thoughts of the game when you reflect upon it?

Jack Mildren: The teams were ranked 1 and 2 respectively, and the media build-up was intense. After all, both teams were clearly the best in college football for the 1971 season, with Nebraska having one of the all-time great defenses and Oklahoma having the greatest wishbone attack, with records that still stand.

Unlike other games between the top-ranked teams, the "Game of the Century" showed both teams playing aggressively with fear of losing. Sometimes, it seems, teams become too conservative, but not on this overcast Thanksgiving Day in Norman. Both teams led, not once but twice, with each playing valiantly.

Was I depressed that we lost? Sure, but also proud of the efforts by the players on the Oklahoma team, guys like Jon Harrison who hadn't received a tremendous amount of press before this game. Obviously, there are several plays that all of us would like to play again, but in the whole, this Oklahoma team played about as well as it could.

TH: What is your greatest memory of being an OU football player?

JM: I remember the first freshman game that my class played in and how important that game was, but nothing compared to the first home game in Norman. In my case, the game was against Pittsburgh.

Obviously, the games in Dallas versus Texas occupy a place in my memory bank because that game is a special experience with the walk down the ramp, the excitement of the fans and so forth.

In my era, the 1971 Nebraska game can never be topped for games that meant something. This game was the reason that many of us chose to attend OU — to play in games of this magnitude.

TH: Who was the greatest player you've ever played with at OU?

JM: There was no greatest" player because so many of them were great players. Steve Owens winning the Heisman when I was a sophomore QB was an unbelievable experience, but learning the wishbone offense with (Greg) Pruitt, (Tom) Brahaney and the others was a pretty impressive feat.

TH: After one year, where does Adrian Peterson rank among the greatest Sooners of all-time?

JM: Adrian has a chance to rank in the first class cabin of Sooner greats if he continues to play the way that he did in 2004.

TH: You ran the wishbone, so are the days of the wishbone buried beneath the rubble because of the style of defense and speed in today's game?

JM: Some teams use the wishbone as their main offense today, but on the whole teams are much more passing oriented in today's game than we were in 1971. However, you still see the option in today's game. Look at some of the runs that Vince Young had versus Michigan in this year's Rose Bowl or some of the runs that our guys will this year. Many of the plays require the QB to read the defensive linemen.

TH: When you look at the schedule, which games make you cringe knowing that they might pose a threat to the Sooners?

JM: The Sooners are going to have a very good year this season. We will see six in a row in Dallas, but need to watch ourselves in the other games.

TH: What are you doing now?

JM: Currently, I'm Vice Chairman-Oklahoma for Arvest Bank, working in business development and government relations. Our bank is a good corporate citizen, and I'm proud of that.

TH: There was a tribute Switzer recently in Houston. Tell me about it?

JM: There was a fantastic turnout of ex-players, with the final count in the area of 125. Obviously, Barry was touched by this outpouring of love and appreciation for him.

The players and coaches only event was spectacular and the banquet produced some humorous and some poignant moments, ranging from numerous recruiting stories to Dr. Death's story about his fight against cancer and Switzer spending time with him at his hospital rehashing old stories.

Best of all was the response by Barry, as he described his appreciation for the guys in the room as well as for the players that were unable to attend.


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