Most believe that the winner of the OU/Texas game will be determined by who plays the best in the trenches on both sides of the ball. While I don't disagree with that thinking, I know that big plays will also play a big part in the outcome of game against teams that are very close in talent.
A guy that will be involved in the battle up front, have a chance for big plays and play a huge role in the outcome of the game for the Sooners is tight end Joe Jon Finley, who recently talked with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: You played in last year's 45-12 loss to Texas, so how much will the fact that you have a year under your belt help you try to get revenge in this year's game with the Longhorns?
JJF: "There is not doubt about it — all of us on offense just about have a year under our belts. We are playing with close to 11 guys who played offense in that game and are missing maybe two or three guys who played on offense in that game. Coming in, we have played some really nice games and we are coming off a really nice win. We are coming in with a lot of confidence and we are really ready to get after it more than anything."
JH: Do you feel there is a better attitude among the team going into this year's game with Texas compared to that of the team last year going into this game?
JJF: "There is no doubt about it. That is how it is every year. You come in and you can just tell from snap one at practice that everybody is focused on this game. There was no jibber-jabber in the back. Everybody is paying attention. We all know exactly what we have to do."
JH: How do you like the match-up of your front wall against their front seven?
JJF: "They have some real good players, but we feel like we have been doing pretty well up front too. We are ready for the challenge as they have two big defensive ends who I have been watching on film. They are big, strong, tough players and we are ready for the challenge. We have been blocking our big, strong guys all year too, so in no way are we scared of them. We are ready for the challenge."
JH: How accurate is the old saying that the game is won the trenches?
JJF: "It is very accurate. You get out there and it is just smashmouth football all game long. That is when the big plays come — when you give your quarterback time to throw the deep ball and you have Malcolm (Kelly) on the outside making plays. You can't have any of that unless you can run the ball and protect the quarterback."
JH: The tight ends play a significant role in all that. But you guys have proven that you can be great pass receivers as well, so how big of a role do you see the possibility of the tight ends being a big plus in the Sooner passing game?
JJF: "It could be, but it just depends on what they give us. We kind of know what they are going to do, but I can't tell you what we are planning on doing. Of course, if the opportunity is there we are definitely going to take it. We do have a couple of plays in just in case they give us that chance."
JH: We have been waiting for the tight end reverse pass. You played quarterback in high school so can you still throw that thing can't you?
JJF: "Shoot ,I wish they (OU coaches) would do it. I can still sling that sucker."
JH: How much does it mean to you, being from Arlington, Texas, to play in this game?
JJF: "It means everything. I grew up disliking the University of Texas. My brother (Matt) went to Nebraska and that was a big rivalry there. Growing up in Texas, you either love UT or you hate them. I was one of those guys who grew up hating them."
JH: Why was that?
JJF: "For me, it was my brother. He played at Nebraska so we had some bad experiences with them. Other than that, you have those two main schools — Texas and Texas A&M — and you know that is a huge rivalry. You just grow up in Texas one way or the other and many times it just matters what kind of parents you have and what way they will swing you."
JH: Was one of the reasons you signed with OU was because of this game?
JJF: "Not really. When I signed here it was one of the games that I looked forward to, but I didn't really consider that in my recruiting. My senior year I did go to the OU/Texas game and that did play a part in my decision to sign with OU. I guess it was kind of a swinging factor when I went and watched Oklahoma beat up on Texas."
Finley: "We are ready for the challenge"
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