Brian Robison was hardly volunteering bulletin board material for the Sooner locker room. It's just that the senior was asked, point-blank, if No. 7 Texas was better than No. 13/14 Oklahoma. He said yes.
"We're ranked higher than them, and that's the only reason why I say we're a better team than they are," Robison added. "If you got down to it, they have the same caliber of players that we have. If you dig down deep and look at the teams, most of their team is made up of Texas guys and most of our team is made up of Texas guys. Other than the colors, we're a mirror image of each other. It's going to be about who gets out there Saturday and does what they need to do to win."
Robison expects to be "out there Saturday," in some capacity, when the teams collide on the floor of the Cotton Bowl at 2:30 p.m. (CDT). Robison has logged 30 career starts, but a deeply bruised quadricep sidelined him for last weekend's rout of Sam Houston State.
"They'll need wild dogs to keep me off the field this weekend," Robison said. "I felt like we did the right thing (sitting out the SHSU game) because I was able to rest it and get it healthy in order to be able to play this (OU) game."
If pressed, Robison believes he could have played last Saturday. He tested the leg with trainers on Sunday, including 15 minutes of running. The result was a little soreness but little to indicate that Robison would miss consecutive ballgames.
"It will be a decision we'll make by Thursday," he said. "We'll decide Thursday how many snaps I'll take, whether I'll play the whole game, or if I'll just play portions of the game."
Robison confirmed what we all saw on TV: Cyclone RT Aaron Brant leg-whipped him with 5:40 remaining in the first half.
"Of course, I was mad." Robison said, "but I'm not mad at the guy. He's like anyone else. He was trying to win. It's just one of those things that sometimes comes up in football. I don't think he tried to injure me on purpose."
The decision to sideline Robison last Saturday came just before kickoff.
"It was definitely weird for me to be out there and not be able to contribute," Robison said. "It was going to be a game-time decision. We went out in warm-ups to see how it felt. It felt numb. It felt 75 percent, and we decided it was better off not to risk it and get ready for the next one."
One gets the impression that B-Rob has been getting ready "for the next one" ever since freshman RB Adrian Peterson ran circles around Longhorn defenders in 2004 on the way to a 12-0 Sooner win. That day the Sooners dusted off a new, yet simple, play where QB Jason White faked a dive to the FB and then tossed wide to Peterson. Time and again, Longhorn DEs bit on the play, drawing them inside while Peterson, in effect, launched his Heisman campaign by stepping off 225 yards on 32 carries.
"Even looking back on it now, it's frustrating because, really and truly, there's no sweet way to put it: he ran all over us," Robison admitted. "We're going to make sure that we try not to let that happen again."
The Texas defense was disappointed that it didn't get much of a shot at Peterson during last year's 45-12 Longhorn win, snapping a five-game skid in the series. A high ankle sprain limited Peterson to just 10 yards on three carries.
"It doesn't matter because last year is over," Robison concluded. "This year, he's going to be coming full force."
Oklahoma is averaging 180.2 yards per game this season, and Peterson is responsible for 160.8 yards of it per outing.