Barry Switzer talks Red River Rivalry

NORMAN, Okla. -- Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, who went 9-5-2 against the Longhorns, reminisces with SoonerNation about his Red River Rivalry tenure, and gives his thoughts on this weekend’s OU-Texas game:

SoonerNation: Your most memorable OU-Texas game:

Barry Switzer: The one that sticks out is my first victory against Texas in 1973, which was also my first year as head coach. We scored half-a-hundred on them (OU won 52-13) – the most points ever put on a Darrell Royal team. We had a great football team. It’s fun going into the game knowing we were really better than Texas. I never was concerned. I knew we had a great football team with the Selmon brothers, Rod Shoate, Joe Washington. We had a great offense, a great defense. We had just come off a 7-7 tie at USC. We were so much better, we should have won the game.

SN: The best Texas player you ever coached against:

Switzer: Earl Campbell. He had that God-given ability. He was the best in high school, best in college, best in the pros. He did it at every level. Had all the physical talents and toughness. Just gifted. Some people got it, and some people don’t. He had it early on. The Marcus Duprees and Earl Campbells and Adrian Petersons are so gifted and talented, and fortunate to have type of gift.

SN: The second-best Texas player you ever coached against:

Switzer: We dominated them in the 80s, so there wasn’t anyone in that era that concerned us. It’s always the quarterback or running back that makes a difference. Other than Earl, no one else really ever stood out that brought fear into your heart. They didn’t have anyone jumping over the field like a Barry Sanders or Joe Washington, where you’re thinking, ‘Hell, we’ll never get him down.’

SN: The best individual performance by an OU player in the Cotton Bowl you coached:

Switzer: We had a couple of them. I think really for me, defensively (linebackers) Rod Shoate (1974) and Brian Bosworth (1985) had two of the greatest defensive performances. They dominated those games, Shoate one year, Bosworth another.

SN: The OU-Texas that gnaws at you the most:

Switzer: In 1984, we were ranked 1 or 2, they were 1 or 2, we were both undefeated. It was Mack Brown’s first and only year here. That just eats at you to lose a game like that, when it was such an obvious call (OU’s Keith Stanberry intercepted Todd Dodge in the end zone, but officials ruled him out of bounds even though replays showed otherwise. Texas kicked a field goal on the next play and the game ended in a 15-15 tie. There were two other controversial calls on the drive, including a defensive pass interference and apparent OU fumble recovery, except officials ruled the runner was down.). (Referee John) McClintock was adjusting his glasses when the ball was knocked out. It was a definite fumble. You could see on film him adjusting his glasses when the ball came out – he didn’t see what the hell happened and gave the ball to Texas. On the angle from our sideline, there was no question. If there was replay back then, we would have won the game.

SN: Was there a game you lost when you had the better team?

Switzer: No, they won every game they should have one. The ties should have been mine. But the times they won they were the better team.

SN: Was there a game you won when Texas had the better team?

Switzer: The games we lost, we didn’t have a great quarterback. But in 1982, they probably had the better team, but I had Marcus Dupree. He scored a touchdown and we kind of surprised them (OU won 28-22). We beat them in the running game. So I think the '82 game probably shocked them. But we had the better teams after that. We got screwed in ’84. But we got back in the wishbone and had Bosworth, Dante Jones, a great linebacking corps, Tony Casillas, (fullback) Stanley Wilson and had speed at halfbacks with Anthony Stafford, Patrick Collins.

SN: Your thoughts on Saturday’s game:

Switzer: I thought it would be toss up, even though we’re a two- (or) three-point favorite. It could go either way. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win the game. It will come down to a couple plays, which will make a difference. If both teams play good, it’s gonna be a tight fit. For either team to get away, other team will have to help them.