Sooners Have Something to Prove

The Sooners set out on journey at the beginning of the season to win a National Title, but more importantly they want to show the nation that they have what it takes to walk away from their last game of the season on the winnning end of things.

Most teams won't admit if they have a chip on their shoulder.

But the Sooners did coming into this season.

"Just being in the locker room with those guys, it's been fun, but there has been a lot different attitude this year with this team," said sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford.

Some of the Sooners admit that comments made by West Virginia quarterback Pat White after their 48-28 loss in the Fiesta Bowl added fuel to the fire for a talented bunch of Sooners set to return in 2008.

"I think [the motivation] is something that started last year in the off-season, having to look at the banner in the weight room," Bradford said. "You know, the quote from Pat White, having to look at that every day and look at the score, and knowing how we finished the season last year. I think that really kind of got to a lot of guys, and I think we did a lot of things to change that."

When the Sooners take the field, they will try to avenge that 20-point bowl game defeat in large part due to White's ability to scorch the Sooners for 326 total yards—176 passing and 150 rushing—and two passing touchdowns.

That means not only will the Sooner offense have to step up more this year, but the defense faces a similar task.

Florida possesses a remarkably similar type offense in comparison to West Virginia in the fact that they are very explosive with fire power all over the field in junior quarterback Tim Tebow and junior wide receiver Percy Harvin, along with its freshmen running back duo of Chris Rainey and Jeffery Demps.

In fact, senior strong safety Nic Harris credited Tebow as being a type of quarterback the Sooners haven't seen this year.

"I feel like they're going to be a great task, especially with the quarterback play," Harris said. "That's pretty much where it all starts, the quarterback play. We really haven't seen a quarterback to that caliber of guy. If we make it one dimensional, run or pass, then you can pretty much make it easier on yourself, especially on the defensive side of the ball."

This year's chip on the team's shoulder and their ability to realize the potencies of Tebow and Florida could produce a different outcome.

"The attitude that we've had all year, I pretty much stated in the beginning of the season…in Kansas City when I said W-T-L-G, win the last game," Harris said. "Right now, the last game is the national championship game. That's where we wanted to be and hopefully that's what we'll do."

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories