OU football: Five things we learned from the first day of Cotton Bowl Media Day
The Oklahoma football team and Texas A&M Aggies met with the media today for the first time during the 77th Cotton Bowl Classic festivities. Here are five things we learned from the two head coach press conferences and player interviews.
1. Texas A&M still looks like a Big 12 offense
Even with a new head coach, old habits die hard.
Although a year removed, many people still compare Texas A&M's offense to ones run in the Big 12. The Aggies rank near the top in almost every offensive category in the SEC, and no matter how you describe their offense, it's working, OU coach Bob Stoops said.
"Offensively, they're a Big 12 offense when you look at them," Stoops said. "We run a lot of the same plays. Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, we all run a lot of the same plays. And they seem to have managed it pretty well.
"(The Aggies) are a SEC team now."
2. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has advice for Heisman winner
For some reason, Heisman Trophy winners tend to struggle in the following bowl game. Whether it is the pressure, the expectations to blow everyone away or the month off, Heisman winners do not play up to their usual pars.
While this is not always true — last year's Heisman winner Robert Griffin III totaled 350 yards in the air and on the ground and two touchdowns in a 67-point Baylor outburst in the 2011 Alamo Bowl — Sumlin had some words of advice for his Heisman winner, redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel.
"Winning the Heisman should not be a punishment," Sumlin said he told Manziel. "It's an unique situation that we have a freshman who has won the highest award given in college football. The advice you are giving is day-to-day advice. It's not career advice."
Manziel was awarded the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 8, 2012, making him the first freshman to win the coveted award.
3. Sumlin says time at OU, Stoops impacted his career
Before becoming a well-known head coach at Houston then being hired at Texas A&M during the last offseason, Sumlin spent five years on Stoops' coaching staff.
Between 2003 and 2007, Sumlin was a member of the offensive coaching staff, mainly as the wide receivers and tight ends coach. Before coming to Oklahoma, he and Stoops knew each other through competing for recruits.
"Bob [Stoops] obviously had a huge influence on my coaching career," Sumlin said. "We've known each other for a long time. Over the course of time, we've kept in touch, and then he hired me.
"You learn a lot during that time. Probably the biggest thing is the day-to-day expectations with players — how you treat players — and the expectation level you have from everybody in the building. And creating a family atmosphere."
4. OU junior linebacker Tom Wort overestimated Manziel's size
Manziel is listed as six-foot-one-inches, 200 pounds in Texas A&M's media guide. But based on what OU players have seen on film and all the hype, it is understandable for them to think Manziel is bigger than the media guide lists him as.
Wort, who is listed as an inch shorter and 37 pounds heavier than the Heisman winner, is one of those players who thought he was bigger than he really is.
"I'm interested to see what he looks like," Wort said. "I was at home with the New Braunfels coaches, and they were talking about him, and they said that he's got extraordinarily big hands. They said, 'Go shake his hand.'"
5. The video board over the field at Cowboys Stadium still impresses
The Sooners have played at Cowboys Stadium twice before and are no stranger to the 72-foot tall, 160-foot wide video board that hangs over the field.
Still, players were spent a good portion of their free time on the field before practice staring up at the Dallas Cowboys and stadium event highlights that loop on non-gamedays.
But that will be the only chance players, especially those on offense, will have to look at the video board, junior wide receiver Kenny Stills said.
"We don't get too much time (to watch themselves on the video board) with a no-huddle offense," he said. "Unless it's a touchdown, then maybe I'll catch it."