I am blessed in my business to get a chance to cover the best University in the country in the University of Oklahoma. I cover every sport and during that process meet some wonderful coaches and players. Every year when senior's graduate, I always get a little sad when I realize that I will not be dealing with some of these athletes much more, if at all.
One of the guys I will miss the most is senior Larry Birdine. Bird has always been a joy to cover, because he always had something to say. Sometimes it was controversial, but most of the time it was just entertaining. As a reporter, he would give you something to write about and talk about, and that is what reporting is all about.
Bird has been fixture on the Sooner defense for four years and he is going to be missed after this season in more ways than one. He is a very talented player, but his great attitude will also be missed on the playing field and off.
On Tuesday, Bird held court in the OU media room as he hung out with the reporters for around an hour. He talked to anybody who wanted to talk and talked to them as long as they wanted to talk to him. Of course, as he has done many times he talked to OUinsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: Can you talk about what you have been through during your career at OU?
LB: "I am just going to give you a summation (laughs). As a redshirt freshman, you come in here with all of these goals thinking you are just going to come in here, just play and have a great career like you did in high school. Soon, you come to the realization that it is a lot harder and people are a lot bigger and a lot faster, and it is going to take time for you to adapt. So as a freshman I pretty much hated being here.
"I believe it wasn't until the middle of the season when I started to really play into my role on the scout team and being excited to be out there with the rest of the guys. As a redshirt freshman, I think that helped me as I progressed through my first year to attack some of the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of the game and of the season.
"Going to two National Championships was pretty exciting, even though we lost. At least I can say I was there. I had a blast and it was very fun. Definitely, the worst part of my collegiate career was being hurt last year. That to was just a learning experience. I believe that things happen for a reason and that made me a better person, as well as a better football player I believe.
"My senior year has been great. My experience with my fella's and with a lot of young cats looking up to me as a leader, though I wasn't voted a captain (laughs). You know, I am not a captain (laughs). They did anoint me a leader. That experience I would not trade in for anything in the world. We fell short of a lot of our goals this year, but we have made great progress and I think we are going to end it on a positive note."
JH: You talked about coming in with a lot of goals, so do you feel you have accomplished them?
LB: "No, because as a freshman you come in here and say to yourself that you are going to play two years and go to the league. That was our motto over there in the Bud (House). You get two years and then go to the league. That didn't happen. I also wanted to be the sack leader at OU and that is not going to happen unless I have three miraculous games (laughs). So that is not going to happen.
"I do feel like I have left my impression on the program somewhat. I have always wanted to bring happiness and joy to people's lives, and I think in my tenure here I have been able to do that."
JH: What are your thoughts on the other two senior defensive ends C.J. Ah You and Calvin Thibodeaux?
LB: "Man, we are the best of friends. We all go out and eat together and we go to movies without girls (more laughter). C.J. has only been here two years, but he has fit in real great with the rest of us. We are all so supportive of each other that it is hard for us to dislike each other. We all get along so well and I think that has been great for our football team."
JH: Does Calvin talk much?
LB: "Yeah, he talks a lot. He really talks a lot."
JH: Does C.J. talk much in public?
LB: "Yeah, they both talk a lot (laughs). I mean, when they don't know people they tend to be very passive or shy towards them because they don't want to open up and show their true selves. If you are looking at it from the outside, then these are two quiet, mean dudes. But they are really light-hearted and playful. They are a lot like me, but I don't care. I just go out there and start talking. They are a lot like me and that is why we get along so well."
JH: Tech is a team that throws a lot, but they are not necessarily a team that you can get a lot of sacks against. But you have to get some kind of pressure to hold them in check don't you?
LB: "Yeah, definitely because we have been watching film on them and they have them wide splits and their quarterback sits back there seven or eight yards.
"They are similar to Missouri, but we believe that Tech's quarterback (Graham Harrell) is a lot better passer and their receivers are a lot better also. We definitely have to get pressure on them, and we (defensive ends) are probably going to have something to say in the game like we did against Missouri.
"We are just going to try to have fun just running around there and hopefully making plays. Hopefully we will feed off the energy of our crowd and energy of each other and go out there and have fun."
JH: Since it is senior day, will it be an emotional day for you on Saturday?
LB: "It is going to be emotional, but I am not going to cry or nothing. But it is going to be very emotional. I am going to use that to my advantage and go out there and play my last game at home and try to make it special."
JH: What would you like to say to all the OU fans that have supported you all for the last five years?
LB: "It has been a great journey and it has been a pleasure to play for them. Hopefully, we can win on Saturday for all of our fans and end the home season on a good note."
No crying for Birdine on senior day
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
OU 11: Texas TechAn offensive flavor to the OU 11 this week after the record-setting night at Texas Tech.
Sooners Illustrated7:41 AM
Video: Bob Stoops after Tech, heading to KUWatch OU coach Bob Stoops' full opening statement trying to reconcile what happened vs. Tech and looking ahead to Kansas.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 11:33 AM
Przybylo: Back to drawing board for OU's DOU's defense must find its heart, soul and identity pretty quickly because things will only get tougher for Sooners down stretch run of Big 12 play.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 7:02 AM
Video: Joe Mixon with historic outing for OUOU coach Bob Stoops talks about the huge performance running back Joe Mixon had in Sooners 66-59 win at Texas Tech.
Sooners IllustratedSunday at 2:50 PM