Ryan Broyles has seen this Oklahoma team go from opening day losers in Cowboys Stadium in 2009 to a potential Big 12 Champion in the span of a year. Forget about the fact the Sooners travel back to the site of OU's disastrous beginnings from last season, Broyles doesn't buy into any Cowboys Stadium curse. He just looks forward to a chance to win the last Big 12 Championship game.
Ryan, how much has this offense grown since you faced the Huskers a year ago? I think going on the road, period, last year was hard for us. We didn't click on all cylinders unless we were at home, plus we lost a lot of key players, we were a young team. Now, I feel like we've matured a lot since that game.
Do you think Landry has matured since then? Oh tremendously. He's one of our go-to-guys, he's one of the guys that we trust in. We trust him with the ball, we trust him to make plays.
Did Landry turn a corner against Oklahoma State, or had he already turned that corner? I feel like it was a team effort. Guys got open, guys were running hard and the offensive line blocked really well. We threw the ball 60-something times and I don't feel like there were too many sacks. The defense played well as well.
From having watched film, why is Nebraska so good against the pass? They play with seven defensive backs, basically. I know their linebackers used to play safety in their base coverage which is nickel. They have a lot of defensive backs out there.
So, basically it's numbers? Yeah, I feel like that's what it is. That's what they've used since they got the new coach.
I know you guys have always expected to be in this game, but when you lost to A&M, you had to know that things needed to change if you were going to get here? Yeah, well we knew that we couldn't lose games. We were set in place for bigger and better things at the time. When we lost, we knew that we had to clean some things up. We felt like we didn't have that good of an offensive scheme for that game. The two games we played after that, I felt like we prepared well.
In your mind, what was the biggest change? I just feel that it's our time. It's our time to click. Later in the season is when I feel that good teams get better, and I feel like that's what we've done.
How does having, or not having Demarco (Murray) effect you guys? We're going to play ball. I'm not sure of his status, and I'm not supposed to talk about it either. Whoever is out there, we're going to play ball.
Meaning? Meaning our offensive line is going to block and our quarterback is going to do his job. Whoever is out there is going to play ball and we'll look forward to winning a championship.
Do you always look forward to these types of matchups where the other team has supposedly the best secondary unit in the country? I think people are going to blow the matchup up. People tried to blow it up when we played Texas and then they tried to blow it up against Colorado. We're going to go out there and play our ball like we always do.
But they do play really tight coverage, they're the No. 2 ranked defense and nobody has really passed for a lot of yards against them. How do you see this challenge? I really haven't watched too much film on them, but they're basically a nickel/dime defensive set. We know there's going to be a lot of defensive backs out there. There's going to be a lot of man-to-man coverage, it's going to be tight coverage and we're going to have to make plays.
Does it mean anything to be playing in the final Big 12 title game? I feel like it means a lot, especially playing against Nebraska who is one of the bigger rivalries that we've had for a long time. It means a great deal.
Eric Mensik said that the coaches have showed you guys some clips of the '76 game? Yeah, they did that the other day. That was a good one. They said that it was the start of Sooner Magic, and I feel like we need some more Sooner Magic.
What goes through your mind when you watch those old highlights? It was a different type of game, I feel like it was a lot slower. Just all around. The swagger wasn't like it is now. Just looking at the camera, the camera wasn't even that good. It doesn't clarify things too well (laughing).
You don't think they had swagger in '76? No, their jerseys were huge. It just wasn't right (laughing). I'm not trying to knock those guys who played back then, they didn't know any better than. It will be the same scenario when my kids come to school here, I think we'll look ancient to them as well.
Do you think they were hitting each other pretty good though? Oh yeah, they had ball players for sure.
So you're really taking shots at the uniforms, not the players? Yeah, yeah. That's what I was looking at.
I think silver shoes are almost the definition of swagger. He did have them (laughing). If I could bring that back then I would. Now, the kickers have the nice shoes. If you haven't noticed, they have nice shoes. They don't let us wear those.
Can you talk about the difference in mindsets, from walking out of Cowboy's stadium a year ago, to now, walking back in there, playing for the conference championship? Well, last year was our first game and you always have things to clean up after your opener. I feel like we've gotten all that out of the way. We know what type of team we are now, we know our identity. Going into this stadium, again for the second time, I feel like it will be a good atmosphere for us.
Do you feel like it's a redemption opportunity, do you feel like the place owes you one? No, I feel we're trying to win a Big 12 championship more than anything. It's not like I hold a grudge on that stadium (laughing). I'm just going to go out there and play ball.