Box Thankful for Opportunity

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA – When Austin Box went down with a knee injury in the Oklahoma State game it looked like another catastrophic set-back for the Sooner defense, but after a speedy recovery he should play in the National Championship.

Red-shirt freshman linebacker Austin Box is thankful for any reps that he gets in Thursday's National Championship game against Florida.

"Something like this does not come around very often It is a once in a lifetime deal," Box said. "I am just very thankful that I get to contribute and be a part of a National Championship."

Box has been held out of practices ever since he suffered a knee sprain in the OSU game and has been sidelined ever since. This week was actually the first week he has taken reps.

"As far as the knee goes, the knee feels great," Box informed.

He may be feeling great physically, but JuCo transfer Mike Balogun has been preparing for the game and getting many of the reps in at practice so far, so it is still up in the air how the players will be used.

OU fans have grown used to the middle linebacker speculation in 2008 as the team has used five different players there throughout the course of the year.

"It is going to be a joint effort," Box admitted. "We have both been taking reps in practice this week. It is going to be a joint effort, but we kind of see it as that is how it has been all year. Guys have had to step up and be together as a unit."

The two teams have been throwing a few jabs back and forth via the media for the past few days, but Box is trying not to dwell on any of that.

"We try not to pay attention to that stuff," Box stated. "That is just fueling us. All of the talk does not mean anything until you prove it on Thursday night and that is what we are going to try to go out there and do."

"If you have watched us all year you can see our defense can do some great things. Especially causing turnovers. That is something we have done really well this year. I know we are one of the top teams in the nation at forcing turnovers."

"We can leave the talking to the media and all the rest of the people, but come Thursday night that is when it all matters and we are going to come to play."

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