COLUMN: Sooners have a lot to prove against Florida State
Bring the noise — the thunderous silence of the focused and committed.
The weeks of hype and hoopla have ended. Saturday night, the Sooners will have to vindicate those who ranked them as the No. 1 team in all of college football against No. 5 Florida State.
Make no mistake — the Seminoles are out for blood.
The Sooners are the best football team Florida State will face this season. If the Seminoles don’t win at Doak Campbell Stadium, they may as well kiss their shot at a BCS national championship goodbye.
I’ve heard for weeks how good this Oklahoma team is supposed to be — how there are remnants of both that 2000 national championship team defense and that 2008 record-setting offense on this team.
Now I want to see it.
I want to see junior quarterback Landry Jones prove he isn’t the quarterback on the road his record shows him to be. Jones is undefeated at home, but that’s not where football teams win championships.
Show me you can withstand the animosity of 82,000-plus Seminoles fans swinging down fleshly tomahawks on you, Landry. Show me.
I want to see if junior walk-on Dominique Whaley is as legit as he seemed to be against Tulsa. He’s been on the team since 2009, and his teammates have raved about knowing he was a great running back since first seeing what he could do in that season’s spring game.
OK, let’s see how he fairs in front of an FSU defense that has given up all of 10 points this season and did not allow a first down in their game against Charleston Southern until the third quarter.
Are you ready for that, Dominique? I sincerely hope so — for your sake.
I want to see if sophomore linebacker Tom Wort has experienced the transformation his coaches and teammates have said has occurred in him. Florida State junior EJ Manuel is a dual-threat quarterback and will certainly test you, Tom. You won’t be able to make any false steps or misreads against him — not this week. This week, Manuel will make you pay.
You think I’m being too hard on the Sooner studs? You think I’m asking a lot of them?
Good, because so are their coaches, the media and fans.
OU isn’t the kind of place where close enough gets it done. Oklahoma isn’t the kind of place where fans say, “Good game” after a loss.
They don’t retire jerseys at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and they don’t change their uniform’s color scheme because it’s en vogue.
They simply leave legacies.
Jones, Whaley and Wort know that, otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen to play college football in Norman. Now, they’ll have to show the Seminoles that — now they’ll have to show the nation.
Like I said before, they had better bring the noise.
RJ Young is a second-year professional writing graduate student. You can follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young.