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Sooners Preparing For A New Experience With West Virginia

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

College football is as unique as sports come.

While the sport itself is the same, with 124 Division I teams participating, you get 124 fan bases with 124 sets of traditions. The schmorgesborg of tradition and atmospheres is what makes college football so special.

The Oklahoma Sooners get to experience a new atmosphere when they travel to take on West Virginia Saturday. It's a game players have been looking forward to since the Big 12 conference schedule was released earlier this year.

"I think we kind of always looked forward to this game because they are new in our conference," OU quarterback Landry Jones said. "I have never played these guys and I have never been to Morgantown or anything like that. I think everybody is really excited to go out there and play them."

The West Virginia administration has called for a "Gold Out" for Saturday's game against the Sooners, and many fans are calling it the biggest home game in West Virginia history (even though the Mountaineers played LSU at home last season).

To combat the excitement of the crowd, the Sooners know they have to start fast on both sides of the ball, particularly defense, since the Mountaineers boast a high-powered offense.

"Come out and make a statement, first series three and out," OU defensive tackle Casey Walker said. "You get that three and out and then it has to continue. We can't decline, we can't slack off or nothing like that. This has to be a perfect game and then the next two games after that have to be perfect games."

Players don't normally get to experience the many traditions a school has during football games, particularly those that go one during pregame.

"You're kind of too focused to ignore the crowd, ignore the scenery, and everything that's going on," Walker said.

That doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy seeing how everything happens at each school.

"I would have loved to see Florida State," Walker admitted. "I think that's so cool how the horse comes out and the dude sticks the (spear) in the ground. To just enjoy it as a fan and watch it, I think that's pretty cool."

The Sooners know what to expect from fans when they go to Lubbock or Stillwater, places they've been many times. However, besides understanding the West Virginia crowd will be fired up to face the Sooners, OU players aren't too sure what to expect from Mountaineer fans. Either way, OU safety Javon Harris said it's not a major challenge.

"When it all comes down to it, we all have to go out there and play," Harris said. "It's not going to matter once the clock starts ticking; it's about playing the game and executing what you've worked on all week in preparations.

"It's a little bit different just to be out there, knowing the crowd is going to be against you. It won't be too loud for us out there on defense though, because they'll be trying to help the offense out."

Oklahoma players may be making their first trip to West Virginia, but they've heard all the stories about its citizens. Fullback Trey Millard said he watched a documentary entitled, "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia." It follows the White family, a legendary family in West Virginia, known for their wild criminal life.

"That's probably the craziest thing I've heard about them (West Virginia citizens)," Millard said. "That backwoods type of family."

Walker wasn't aware West Virginia students burned couches after wins.

"We're going to try not to let them burn a couch this Saturday," Walker said. "I think that's kind of funny and ironic. I've heard of bringing down the goal post or rushing the field, but burning a couch? If they've got the money to buy a couch every week then more power to them."

It's sure to be a crazy atmosphere in Morgantown when Oklahoma comes to town, and for the Sooners, it will all be a new experience. OU is hoping that new experience will be combined with the familiar feeling of winning.

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