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1 OKLAHOMA
John Garrity
August 31, 1987
In the year 1 A.B. (After Bosworth) of the new millennium, the Sooner wagon is so loaded with talent that the Boz—the All-America linebacker and Dada artist whose greatest canvas was himself—has become a memory as vague as winter wheat.
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August 31, 1987

1 Oklahoma

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In the year 1 A.B. (After Bosworth) of the new millennium, the Sooner wagon is so loaded with talent that the Boz—the All-America linebacker and Dada artist whose greatest canvas was himself—has become a memory as vague as winter wheat.

OU has nine starters back from an offense that led the nation in rushing and scoring last year and seven starters from a defense that was the first in history to lead the NCAA in the four major team defensive categories—success against the pass and the rush, and fewest total yards and points allowed. The Sooners outscored their last nine opponents 391-50, but coach Barry Switzer is a little concerned about his defense. "Our tackles will be inexperienced," he says. Yes, and Bo Derek once had a pimple.

Some may dismiss the Sooners as bullies for arranging what appears to be a two-game season: Texas in Dallas on Oct. 10 and the final hoe-down with Nebraska in Lincoln on Nov. 21. Along the way come seven Big Eight foes that the Sooners trampled by an average score of 43-4 in 1986. Gone is Miami, the only team to beat Oklahoma last year. Gone also from this year's original schedule are USC and SMU, replaced by North Texas State and Tulsa.

" USC had to play another Pac-10 team, and you know what happened to SMU," explains Switzer. Yes, but what happened to North Texas and Tulsa—brain seizures? " Tulsa's pretty tough," snaps Switzer, who likes to tell recruits, "If you come to OU, we'll be going to bowl games and competing for the national championship. And if you don't come to OU, we'll be going to bowl games and competing for national championships."

And he's right. The quarterback, of course, is option-master Jamelle Holieway (see story on opposite page), who throws only when all else has failed. But in those crucial situations he'll be looking to his 6'3", 248-pound All-America tight end, Keith Jackson. A likable fellow who plays the cello for relaxation, Jackson deserves a good conduct award for being a receiver on a wishbone team that has averaged just 4.8 passes a game in his three seasons. But his 14 receptions last year were good for 403 yards—a school-record 28.8 yards per catch—and five touchdowns.

The defensive secondary is virtually intact, with two all-conference safeties, Rickey Dixon and David Vickers. They're a year older now, and don't think they won't be a year better.

Replacing Bosworth as the strong-side linebacker will be quiet, 6'2", 225-pound senior Dante Jones, who filled in for the banned Boz in OU's Orange Bowl rout of Arkansas and made nine unassisted tackles. Jones feels he can surpass Boz on the field, if not off. "Brian was always in the spotlight," says Jones. "I ain't never been in the spotlight, except for one game, the Orange Bowl. And I didn't really like it."

Actually, OU starters don't bathe in the spotlight as frequently as you may think, because they see less playing time than scrubs at other schools. "Our goal is to start out averaging 45 points or so a game, while we're rusty," says Holieway. "Then 50 points or over, until Nebraska, which is a war. But I'm going to ask Coach if I can just play a little more. I'm not talking about the third quarter. I just want to see halftime."

Come on, Barry, have a heart.

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