Former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer didn’t go to El Paso for OU’s season opener against UTEP a few weeks ago.
“I had a good friend,” Switzer said. “The last time he went up there he got his butt shot and that was Marty Robbins.”
Switzer, who will turn 75 next month, is as irascible as ever. And, boy howdy, wouldn’t it be fun to watch a football game with him sometime?
Well, you have your chance.
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Switzer has teamed with collegesportschannels.com to entertain and inform fans who can’t get a ticket to the game but still want to feel like they’re at the game. He’ll be texting, e-mailing and tweeting with fans on the website Saturday night when Oklahoma meets Kansas State from the comfort of his living room.
“I live 600 yards from Memorial Stadium but I don’t go to games anymore,’’ Switzer said. “I watch games from home. Something like this has never been done before. If you’re a fan of either Kansas State or Oklahoma, I want you to come and watch this game with me.’’
It’s as simple, Switzer said, as logging on to the website.
Be warned, K-Staters. Switzer will no doubt be entertaining. He could comment on the opening bell of the stock market and be entertaining. But he’s also the same guy who coached at OU for 16 seasons and put together a record of 157-29-4 from 1973 to 1988. The Sooners went unbeaten twice during Switzer’s tenure and lost just one game six times while winning three national championships.
Switzer is Sooner born and Sooner bred and when he dies . . . well, you get it.
But he promises to cajole just as enthusiastically with Kansas State fans who might want a glimpse into football’s inner workings.
“This website is something we’re just getting started and something we’re going to try to build,’’ Switzer said of collegesportschannels.com, which specializes in high school football recruiting videos but is expanding in other ways. “We’re zeroing in on some other schools and magnet coaches like me with editorial staffs who contribute.”
Former coaches like Pat Jones (Oklahoma State), Jackie Sherrill (Texas A&M), Milt Tenopir (Nebraska) and Harold Horton (Arkansas) have signed on to represent those schools. Switzer said the list is growing, but that everybody involved is learning on the run.
His house was a beehive Wednesday as technicians worked to make sure he’ll be able to do the whole social media thing without a glitch. He has his fingers crossed that they’ve installed all the right stuff.
So, what does Switzer expect Saturday night in a game between two ranked teams?
“A good game,” he said. “I wonder how good Kansas State is defensively. I think Oklahoma might have found themselves a running back in Damien Williams (259 yards and five touchdowns in two games), but I’m really not sure how good they’re going to run the ball against K-State. And they’re just not in sync right now with the passing game because of the offensive line.”
Switzer emphasized the tremendous respect he has for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, though they never squared off as head coaches. Snyder came to Kansas State in 1989, the year after Switzer left OU.
“I think the only reason Bill Snyder came back a few years ago was because he wanted to prove his first time there wasn’t luck,” Switzer joked. “Well, he’s proven it. It definitely wasn’t luck.”
Switzer ran the table during his coaching career against K-State, a perfect 16-0. Most of the games were blowouts, but Jim Dickey’s Wildcats did manage to keep some games close: 35-21 in 1980; 28-21 in 1981 and 24-10 in 1982. The 1981 game was particularly agonizing for K-Staters. The Wildcats jumped ahead 21-0 against 17th-ranked OU but couldn’t hold on.
Oklahoma’s streak over Kansas State reached 22 games before Snyder pulled a turnaround there, beating OU five consecutive times during his first run as K-State’s coach.
The Sooners currently have a five-game winning streak over K-State and Snyder has endured four of those defeats. It’s his longest losing streak to any school and Switzer knows better than to count him out Saturday.
“K-State has a shot,” he said.
Switzer still loves and follows the game and he has always loved people. So he figures this kind of new-wave interaction during a game, utilizing technology that he freely admits spins his head, is the best of both worlds.
Fans get a chance to pick his brain during a game and he gets a chance to try something new and exciting.
“I’m not slowing down, heck no,” Switzer said. “I’m getting after it, speeding up now. It’s all downhill and I’m going faster.”
Good luck to the fans who decide to join him online for Saturday night’s game. Good luck keeping up.