(Editor's note: This officially kicks off BH's 2011 Sooners season preview. In the coming weeks leading up to the opener against Tulsa, check in for breakdowns of every position group on OU's squad, as well as final prediction for the season.)
What spring training is to baseball, media days are to college football.
Hope springs eternal. Everybody "worked hard all summer." Everybody's focused on "getting better every day." Everybody has a chance to have a "really special season."
Entering his 13th season with the Oklahoma Sooners, Bob Stoops knows the drill all too well. Even so, OU's coach had some noticeable pep in his step this week in Dallas, though. (OK, I wasn't actually in Dallas and I didn't actually see Stoops walking around, but work with me.)
Matt Hayes of The Sporting News picked up on that same vibe in Dallas. Hayes noted that while the Longhorn Network might have been the hot topic at the Big 12's media sessions, the Sooners' swagger was the story.
As was the case in the spring, Stoops is projecting an unusually strong sense of confidence in this edition of the Sooners. The sound bites dished out by all-star senior linebacker Travis Lewis suggested that attitude is spreading to Stoops' team.
Why not? Coming off a seventh conference title in 12 years, the Sooners have plenty of reason to be cocky among their league brethren. As quickly as the names on the field change, OU is just as quickly adding new Big 12 hardware to its trophy case.
However, as the likely No. 1 team in the country once the preseason polls are released, we're talking about more than just another conference title. Rather than shunning that bulls eye, the calm, cool, collected Sooners appear to be embracing it.
We'll find out soon if that's just the false July bravado that is so commonplace in college football. If not, that kind of confidence might be what separates this OU team from Stoops's quads that have come so close to winning it all but ultimately fell short.