Sooner they must play with advantage in Bedlam

Even Brent Venables he will make a fool of himself. The first-year Oklahoma coach knows that sometimes he can go into press conferences and get off topic and all that stuff.

Listen closely enough, though, and there are moments when Venables gives an honest insight into what’s going on with Team 128.

OU fans shook their heads when Venables said the team was tired after Texas’ 49-0 drubbing of the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry.

Venables used a different term after the season’s final, and most disappointing, loss at West Virginia.

You know what? This is no time to sulk or cower or point fingers. It’s time for something else. It’s time, for lack of a better term, time to piss off.

There isn’t a single person in the program who is happy with OU being 5-5 overall and a dismal 2-5 in Big 12 play. Don’t wonder what could have been in the three one-possession losses OU has had, including two last weeks.

No, get angry. Finish with an edge.

“It was always about finishing,” Venables said. “There is nothing easy about it. Either you win or, surely, after disappointment, your character will be revealed. I know these guys. Then again, they’re new guys and they’re hurting right now. They really, really hurt.

“At some point and time we have to get pissed off and do something about it. All of us. It’s not okay. We have many reasons why we can justify failure. But we have to get better. We have to coach them better and we have to play better.”

That’s not something you flip a switch on Saturday afternoon when Oklahoma State comes to town for one of the last Bedlam games in a long, long time.

It starts with practice, and a mindset that should carry the rest of the way. Like if you can’t get mad heading into Bedlam, especially after what happened last year in Stillwater, then it’s going to be incredibly hard to believe you can turn that corner this weekend.

Don’t like being 5-5? Do something about it.

“That’s exactly what I did last game,” the cornerback said Woody Washington, who forced a fumble last week. “That’s what I’m going to continue to do going forward is play angry, especially this game. We all know what this game consists of. It will be physical. It’s a rivalry game. We just have to keep our heads up and go out and play.”

Monday was another day of making amends for OU, a whole bunch to do right after the debacle in Morgantown.

If you can watch this movie and not get angry, wow.

“Just make sure you’re prepared and play with a different fire when you’re on that court,” Washington said. “Really, just the preparation aspect is the biggest thing that will separate us this game.”

Running back Eric Gray he has every right to be angry. If anyone has played at an elite level during this 2-5 conference streak, it’s Gray. He was phenomenal, including a 211-yard, two-touchdown performance at WVU.

He has not been able to celebrate the exits. It’s something of an annoying offensive coordinator Jeff Lebbyand another reason why Gray is ready to go out with a wild night against the Cowboys.

“Sure,” Gray said about being angry. “People say the season doesn’t go the way you wanted it to. You didn’t end the way you wanted. Two games left to go. To piss off, as Coach Venables said, piss off and really finish it the right way.”

It can’t be the only feeling, obviously. You need focused intensity. It takes effort with technique. You can’t just put all your coaching to the side and be crazy. But a little crazy can work as OU finds itself in the rarest of spots and struggles to be bowl eligible.

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel he didn’t play against Texas, so Saturday will mark his first foray into what is the OU rivalry culture.

He has quite a few games he wants back from the last few weeks. Let it all out against OSU.

“I think that’s the most frustrating part is that it’s self-inflicted,” Gabriel said. “But at some point, though, we have to wash it away and we have to get over it. Because we have another chance to be good. We have to be excited about it because we’ve got another chance to play and it’s Bedlam.”

Fans see videos of players laughing or joking after a loss and can’t understand it. No, they’re not in those walls and don’t know what’s going on every day, but just the thought of 5-5 being okay hurts. They are crazy and they want to know that the kids in this locker room are too.

Show it to Bedlam, enough said.

“I am disappointed. Angry. I’m a lot of things,” wide receiver Drake Stoops he said. “Not to anyone or anything. But personally, as a competitor, losing sucks. And I think anyone who has ever competed in anything understands that. So it’s very, very disappointing to lose.

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