December 3, 2007

Sooner recruits focus on titles, watching replays

While Oklahoma fans all over the country watched Oklahoma's 38-17 win over Missouri in pure unfiltered jubilation many of their recruits were busy dealing with games of their own. The Sooners were busy winning their conference title No. 41 but a couple of their young recruits were taking part in a chance for their first state titles.

One of Oklahoma's earliest commitments, Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian center Ben Habern was busy going through Texas' private school's state semi-finals against Tomball Concordia Lutheran. His method to knowing about Oklahoma's second duel with the Missouri Tigers?

To have no method at all.

"My brother Tivoed it for us, after my game we didn't even answer our phones or anything. We got home and watched the game, we didn't watch it live but it might as well have been because we didn't fast forward or anything. We were patient, we waited it out," Habern said of his family's Tivo-watching virtues.

After watching the game in its entirety the Sooners four-star prospect, and nation's No. 2 center, felt the win over then-No. 1 Missouri was Oklahoma's best performance of the season.

"Honestly, I thought they played one of their best games all year. The running game started off a little slow for OU, but towards the end of the game and the second half they really poured it on," Habern said.

Although he is an offensive player, he saw what many others did upon arriving home from his team's 49-14 win over Concordia Lutheran; a wonderful game called by defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Oh, and it's probably safe to say that Habern is glad he'll only be facing one Sooner defender in practices.

"I thought coach Venables did an incredible job on defense, Chase Daniel was so confused, the nickelbacks and linebackers were faking blitzes and backing up. Daniel was all confused and didn't know what to do, I think Curtis Lofton had a great game," he said.

While Habern was busy during his game trying to keep the battle in San Antonio out of his mind his future teammate from East Texas was getting score updates from around the stadium in Gilmer, Texas' 42-36 win over previously undefeated Dallas Roosevelt.

"I was focused on my game of course but I was hoping that OU was winning because I had a bet with one of my offensive lineman, Daniel Jenkins, who is going to Missouri," Justin Johnson said. "I had people coming down and giving me score updates on the game as it went on."

Johnson, who will be reporting to join his cousin and the Sooner squad, in January had not as of yet been able to see the game but Habern not only discussed what happened in the Alamdome but also just what he thought of the Sooners missing out on the national championship game.

Habern offered few excuses, other than to say no team had a perfect resume.

"It's frustrating, of course Ohio State is going to be in the national championship, and then after that you have LSU, USC and Oklahoma," Habern explained. "You see USC lose to Stanford, and LSU loss to Arkansas and Kentucky, Oklahoma lost to Tech and Colorado, and in Missouri they pretty much stomped the No. 1 team in the nation. It shows they can play with big time colleges.

"LSU is barely beating Tennessee and Alabama; Alabama is a five or six loss team. Honestly to me, I'm not trying to be biased because I'm going to Oklahoma but I think OU should get a better chance than what they have."

Whether Oklahoma's Big 12 championship game demolition of Missouri earned them the respect they are due is debatable. However something that doesn't have a problem with clarity is that Bob Stoops' class of 2008 has hopes of adding to his record five Big 12 titles.

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