For those native to Norman or who have bled crimson and cream during their time at OU, this is arguably a better season than Christmas. However, the culture of Oklahoma football may be a foreign concept for new or returning students who have not yet had the chance to go to a game.
There are some things you should know before entering the stadium. For example, you are only allowed to bring a clear bag, and you should head in early to save your seat — but don't pregame too hard, since alcohol is now sold inside the stadium. But at this point, Sooner fans have a language of their own with countless football stars, locations, events and traditions that are unique to the University of Oklahoma, making it hard to keep up with these experienced football fans who have been tailgating since birth.
Here are some names and terms you need to know to keep up with all the action during this football season:
Lincoln: Not the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln Riley, our head coach, is the head honcho of Oklahoma football. This is Lincoln’s third season, and he's already coached us to two Big 12 championships and two Heisman winners, thus explaining the T-shirts you may see that say, “In Lincoln We Trust.” I’d trust Lincoln if I were you.
Jalen Hurts: It shouldn't hurt to cheer on our new quarterback, even though he just transferred from the University of Alabama. Jalen is following a long line of iconic OU quarterbacks, so be sure to keep an eye on him this season to see how he measures up. (No pressure, Jalen.)
K1: Our former quarterback, Kyler Murray, wore jersey No. 1. Not only was that his jersey number, but he also won the Heisman Trophy in 2018, and he went on to be the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick. Kyler currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals and is now a part of the Heisman House commercials.
Shake and Bake: As funny as “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is, “Shake and Bake” in Oklahoma is referring to our former quarterback, Baker Mayfield. When he wasn't planting the flag or making obscene gestures, Baker led our team to bowl games and even won the Heisman Trophy in 2017. Baker is currently playing for the Cleveland Browns, still donning the No. 6 jersey, and is teaching Kyler Murray how to navigate the Heisman House.
Hollywood: Not the heart of the movie industry located in California. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was OU’s wide receiver for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, catching the footballs Baker Mayfield threw. Hollywood certainly had star quality, and he is now sharing his talents with the Baltimore Ravens.
CeeDee: It might sound like people are rooting for a disc that stores music, but they're actually cheering on our incredible wide receiver Cedrian “CeeDee” Lamb. CeeDee started 13 games in both his freshman and sophomore years and is expected to perform well again this season with new teammate Jalen Hurts.
Stoops: Bob Stoops was the former head coach of OU football for 18 years until he retired in 2017. Bob led the team to a national championship win in 2000 and is praised for coaching some of the best players in college football. He has a younger brother, Mike Stoops, who was OU's defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2018, but he was fired after fans deemed him responsible for OU's loss against Texas. Yikes.
Grinch: Not the Dr. Seuss character who steals Christmas. Alex Grinch joined Lincoln Riley’s staff as the defensive coordinator in January 2019. Every OU football fan is hoping Alex Grinch can turn our defense around and help us steal a national championship.
Speed D: Not to be confused with CeeDee, the player. “Speed D” is Alex Grinch’s unique defensive strategy system, which includes playing with max effort and forcing turnovers. Since this is Grinch’s first year coordinating defense for the Sooners, this term is brand new. But now, instead of just paying attention during amazing throws, catches and touchdowns, Sooner fans can pay attention to this new system during our turn at defense.
Palace on the Prairie: This is what Sooner fans call the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, or Owen Field. The palace has housed football royalty since 1923. Fun fact: Owen Field is named after former coach Benjamin Owen, who is one of four OU football coaches to win 100 games.
The Pride: The student marching band for the University of Oklahoma since 1904. These student musicians do more than just music — more than 70 different majors are represented every time the Pride takes the field. Pride members rehearse for hours on end to bring fans an incredible halftime show with mesmerizing formations and renditions of hit songs.
Drum Major: A member of the Pride who does not necessarily have to major in percussion. In fact, the drum major for the 2019-2020 season, Paxton Leaf, is an engineering junior. Leaf follows Julie Siberts, the Pride’s first female drum major ever. The drum major leads the Pride with a famous strut onto the field and conducts the band through their performance.
RUF/NEKS: The all-male spirit squad for the university. Anytime OU scores, the RUF/NEKS charge onto the field with a horse-drawn wagon: one of them driving, some chasing behind and others firing a canon to celebrate the win.
Lil’ Sis: The RUF/NEK Lil’ Sis organization was founded in 1973 to include young women in the spirited tradition. For those in the organization, being a Lil’ Sis is more like being a part of a supportive sisterhood.
Sooner Schooner: The name of the wagon that is pulled by horses after the Sooners score. This is technically the university's official mascot, since the Sooners are named after those who participated in the Oklahoma land rush of 1889 via wagon. But because a wagon costume would be near impossible to wear, our mascots, Boomer and Sooner, are horses instead.
Heisman Park: The home of bronzed legends Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Sam Bradford — all OU players who have won the Heisman Trophy. This park can be found on the east side of the stadium in between Brooks and Lindsey streets. Sooner fans are greatly anticipating the new additions of Baker Mayfield's and Kyler Murray's statues, date unknown. Fun fact: It takes two years to make a Heisman statue for Heisman Park.