NORMAN, Okla. – After a 85-7 thrashing of Baylor in their Allied Conference opener, Head Coach Ken Forehand and his Oklahoma Sooners are looking to ride their hot streak and a wave of emotion into the Red River Rivalry game this weekend in Austin.
“[Against Baylor] I was really excited about our intensity level. We’ve been working on getting tougher and meaner for a while,” Forehand said.
An icon of hard-nosed OU rugby, David Raitt a close friend and former OU teammate of Forehand, passed away Thursday, inspiring the Sooners to exhibit the ethos Raitt played with in the early 1990s.
OU will look to ride the emotional wave down I-35 and into Austin this weekend.
If there is one thing that will keep a Sooner fired up, it’s the opportunity to beat archrivals Texas in front of as many of their home fans as possible. In fact, keeping emotions in check might be a bigger challenge than getting a team pumped up.
“We love that we are going into Austin, the heart of enemy territory,” Forehand said with a hint of a smile creeping into his inflection. “I don’t have to do much to motivate the guys to play.”
With a new conference for OU this season (with no more long road trips to Marietta, Ga. to play Life University, or to South Bend, Ind. to play Notre Dame), the playoff race is wide open, just like it should be. That said, D1A experience comes at a premium and the long trips the past two seasons to play Life and Arkansas State may pay off with the new, relatively green conference.
Saturday will mark Texas’s first D1A match, but the Sooners and Longhorns are familiar foes on the rugby field, despite playing in different competitions at different levels.
Despite the experience gap, Forehand knows the newcomer Longhorns claim some very talented players, the likes of which can break a game open.
Newcomers or old hands, the competition will be intense. After all, it is Texas vs. Oklahoma.