Miami is a hard place to get serious.
But that is the Sooners' mission when they set out for Miami January 3.
"We just have to have the right mindset," said sophomore defensive end Jeremy Beal. "You just have to forget you're in Miami and imagine yourself here in Norman and go at it like you would here, go through the same practices and the same mindset that we had during the first 14, 15 weeks that we had in Norman."
OU, after losing its past four BCS bowls and only winning one of its past five bowls, is stressing a more business-like approach when they step on sunny South Beach.
"I would say it's more of everybody's mindset," said junior running back Chris Brown. "Especially being on South Beach, everybody thinks, ‘Well, you're going to be on the scene, and you're going to be rapped up in the beach life and all the partying and stuff like that.' I don't think that's going to be the case this year."
As far as what the differences will be in preparation, some of the Sooners are reluctant to release the information.
"I don't think you need to know all the suggestions we had, but there were a couple things that we came up with," said sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford. "Really in the end of the day, it's not our call, it's the coaches' call, so it's up to Coach Stoops on how he feels this trip should be run."
Beal said as far as official changes in trip preparation, he is not exactly sure what they will be.
"I have no idea. That's up to what Coach Stoops decides," Beal said. "He discusses everything, the routine and stuff, but I'm just looking at it as a player. We have to go down there with the right mindset and of course we're going to have a little bit of fun, but we're there to handle business, and it's a business trip for us, and that's the way you've got to look at it instead of going down there to have fun."
Sophomore defensive back Dominique Franks had a few suggestions of his own of what should be different.
"Hopefully, [the coaches will] make curfew earlier and just get the older guys around the younger guys and let them know that we're here to win a national championship. We're not here on vacation," Franks said.
But with a year more of maturity on the team, the curfew and other factors could be less of an issue. Players say there is more resolve and determination.
[The curfew] changes when it gets closer to the game," Franks said. "It's still early, but I think more guys just used that as vacation, more of the guys that didn't play. But now, with the leadership that we have on our team, even the younger guys just want to win a national championship. Everybody's talking about, ‘We got to get this one; we can't let this one slip away because we never know when the next time [is that] we'll go to the national championship.
Clearly, with whatever the business like changes will be, the Sooners are motivated to change the recent past.
"Obviously, the past couple bowl games haven't worked out for us," Bradford said. "We haven't played the way we were capable of, so I think some of us got together and we want to treat this bowl game just as it would be a game here.