As we enter the last week of the regular season, the Sooners still have the possibility of fulfilling two of their preseason goals. Depending on what happens with other games across the country, the Sooners could clinch a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl with a win on Saturday. A big task however, will be for the Sooners to get back up after back-to-back emotionally draining games against West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
The players realize they have to put the win over Oklahoma State behind them and focus on the task at hand. That was a big emphasis this week. Senior defensive tackle Casey Walker says this team realizes the magnitude of the game on Saturday, and that they have to be ready to a stingy TCU squad.
“It's one of those things where you want to live in the moment but at the same time you have to also know the season is not over yet,” said Walker. “We're on the line easily for a Big 12 title and BCS bowl game and it's one of the goals that you set at the beginning of the year so you have to forget about it."
There was some added emotion last week, as 21 seniors played their last game on Owen Field. Walker was one the players who played his last game in front of the home fans, and said all of the added emotion made the night that more special.
"It's one of those games where you almost want to cry because it's senior night, and it's Bedlam and you remember what happened last year and then you win in overtime. It's just a great feeling, especially at our house.”
One thing that should ease Sooner fans worries about this game is the success is that this team has had on the road this year. Playing on the road has been a problem in the past, but Walker says the difference this year has been the veteran leadership on the team.
"We've got a lot of seniors on the field. We've played in big stadiums like when we went to Florida State, which was one of the loudest stadiums I've ever been in. So just knowing you have to tune out everything that is around you and focus on what you are doing, I think we have done that and it shows."
With TCU being added to the Big 12, it offers an opportunity for the player’s families to make the short road trip. Walker’s hometown is Garland, Texas which is 50 miles from the campus of TCU. He says he’s very familiar with the area, and excited to be able to return home.
"TCU was one of my first offers out of high school so it'll be nice to go down there. There's been some rebuilding to the stadium since the last time I've seen it. It should be one of those fun ones. I've got family in Fort Worth so we'll get to see what's going on down there."
TCU won’t be an easy win, and the Sooners will have to well all-around if they want to leave Fort Worth with a win. The Horned Frogs ranks No.1 in total in the Big 12, and No.17 in the country. It’s likely that the offense won’t be able to put up the huge numbers they have the past two weeks, which means the defense must play better. Walker says the defense realizes they could be playing a lot better, but it’s important to remember that they’ve came up big when needed to
“We’ve got the stops when we’ve needed to, and I think that’s what is important right now. We’re doing our job to a certain extent, but it could be better.”
Walker and the defense will look to make a difference on Saturday inside Amon G. Carter Stadium.