It is hard to believe the school that gave us Jack Mildren and Greg Pruitt and 22 victories in two years and eight zillion yards of Wishboning has turned into Oklahoma Crude. But in addition to wondering who is left to coach and who to play quarterback at Norman, the sickies are asking who remains to alter records and who to lead cheer rallies.
No sooner did Coach Chuck Fairbanks depart for the pros last spring than Kerry Jackson, star quarterback heir apparent, departed because of prose. (In April the school admitted that Jackson's high school transcript had been changed; thus Jackson was declared ineligible, and Oklahoma forfeited eight victories. In August the Big Eight zonked the Sooners with a two-year probation that will keep them out of bowl play this season and next and off national television in 1974 and '75. The NCAA is yet to be heard from.) Just as new Coach Barry Switzer started to pick up the pieces, the new rally leader, Bill Lamebull, a Southern Cheyenne, was warned by some Indian brethren not to perform in native dress.
Switzer will debut with a strong nucleus of quality players and try to hide a lack of depth. Redshirt Steve Davis cuts upheld almost as well as Mildren, and his experience puts him ahead of highly touted freshmen Scott Hill and Joe McReynolds. While Jackson moved out, the rest of last year's second-string backfield moves up. Senior Fullback Tim Welch and junior Halfback Grant Burget both averaged more than five yards a carry in 1972, but it is sophomore jet Joe Washington who is being counted on. If not a better talker than Pruitt, Washington is surely a better blocker and he may even have more moves; in the spring game he gained 127 yards and scored three touchdowns. "Maybe the crowd got him going," said Switzer. "We do have crowds in the fall, don't we?"
Oklahoma crowds will also enjoy Tinker Owens at split end and the brothers Selmon on defense. Tinker is the elfin receiver who rang the bell against Nebraska and Penn State last season. Five-11, 225-pound Luscious Lucious Selmon and his younger brother, Dewey, will undoubtedly ring a few bells of their own. A third Selmon, LeRoy, has been sidelined by illness.
The Sooners must play USC, Texas and Colorado in the first five games. With Kerry Jackson, this Sooner Wishbone would have been devastating. Without him, Oklahoma may have to bone up on some wishes.
Doug Dickey's fourth year at Florida promises to be the one in which he feels most at home, considering the new houses he and seven of his assistant coaches recently settled into, opting to tackle job security head on. It is no coincidence then that the 1973 Gators resemble the kind of teams Dickey coached at Tennessee—tough and talented.
"We have good quality," says Dickey. "We have some big-play people and some depth in guys who can make winning plays. I think Florida has reached the point where it can look the best teams in our league in the eyes."
Everyone's eyes will be on Nat Moore, for it is he who epitomizes the "big-play people" Dickey mentioned. In one year Moore has gone from junior college basketball player to the SEC's most explosive running back. His 845 yards on 145 carries set a Florida record, and he reeled off scoring jaunts of 46 yards against Florida State and Ole Miss, 52 yards against Auburn and 60 against Alabama.
At 5'10�" and 178 pounds, Moore gave up basketball because "I think my future, at my size, looks better in fool-ball." He led the Gators in pass receptions with an average gain of better than 14 yards.