Oklahoma football: Former Sooner talks 2014 Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02: Brannon Green #82 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates on the field after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02: Brannon Green #82 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates on the field after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Stormin in Norman recently caught up with former Oklahoma tight end Brannon Green. He talked with us about the Sooners 45-31 win in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Alabama, the game’s legacy and even shared a quick thought about Last Chance U.

What do you remember about the practices leading up to the game?

Obviously I remember the preparation. Playing a team like Alabama, especially that year, I think they had four or five first-round guys and a slew of them who got drafted. The preparation was how can we prepare to execute the best, keep it a low-scoring game and have the ball the longest. It was intense and it was focused. Obviously we had the Christmas break thrown in there, but we had just come off a big win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater and it was all business. There was not much fun involved and we didn’t want it to be. We knew we could do something special by beating Alabama.

Obviously a bunch of people had written your team off. Did you guys hear any of that noise?Were you keeping up with the media at all? Did ya’ll use it as motivation?

You know, really in the moment, I wish I could say yes. We just focused on what we had to do. It was my position and my job and obviously the other 10 guys. We didn’t keep much up on that. We hadn’t played an SEC school since I had been there so we really didn’t look much into the hype. Obviously there were things that came across our eyes that were doubting us, but we weren’t paying attention to it.

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Trevor had the game of his life that day. Is that something you saw coming?

Trevor is obviously an excellent football player. That’s a guy I saw in practice day in and day out and he was the best quarterback on the team. I wish he had stayed healthy all year, then we might have had a shot at a National Championship. He was a great player and he was the type of guy that we rallied around. As you saw in the game he made some unbelievable throws. He hit me once for 25 yards and put it right where it needed to be. I am obviously going to praise him because he gave me some love and threw me a pass.

You guys go down 7-0, then turn the ball over. Did the coaches pull ya’ll aside? What was the attitude like for the offense at that time?

When you are in the moment, you try to stay as calm as possible. The coaches were all telling us there was a lot of football left and that was the mindset. We knew they were an explosive team that could score quick. We knew it was going to be a back-and-forth game. Once we settled down and got those first-play jitters out of the way we knew we could play with these guys.

Was there a point in the game when ya’ll realized you could match Alabama’s physicality?

For me, personally I remember being in on one of the first drives and coming from the fullback position. I had to block the linebacker and it was C.J. Mosley. He went in the first round to the Ravens. I was able to seal him and our running back went for about 20 yards on the play. That play solidified it for me that we could compete and match these guys, guy for guy.

What was the attitude like at halftime?

“Hey there’s two more quarters and a lot of football left.” We knew they were going to come out and be very mad because we had put it on them in the first half. They had a lot of talent and they are well-coached, obviously. I just remember it being a blur. I mean, it was a quick halftime. We were ready and fired up to get back out there, play the last two quarters and get home with a win.

Do you consider that game the highlight of your career?

Without a doubt. It was my last football game at any level. I thought I was going to have a shot to play in the NFL, but it didn’t work out. That was the highlight of my football career and a proud moment for myself and my family, to be a part of that upset. Obviously you look at Alabama and they have been the dynasty for the last few years since Saban has been there. That will always stick out to me.

What advice would give to this year’s team going up against Alabama?

I think, just don’t listen to the hype. You go do your job and go out there and do your job and execute. Give it all you got. Hard work can beat talent, obviously we’ve seen that time and time again and upsets can happen. Be ready to go from snap one, because they are going to come out fast. I know they did against us. Really, come out and play fast and hard.

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Bonus question: Last Chance U is popular on TV right now. You started your college career at Fort Scott Community College (in the same conference as Independence Community college). As a former Jayhawk Conference player, have you seen it? Do you think it accurately represents JUCO football in Southeastern Kansas?

I think it accurately represents the talent. I don’t think a lot of people understand the talent at that conference. I played with three or four guys that are playing in the NFL right now. Those guys go on to Power Five schools. I think that is representative of the talent, intensity, drive and ups and downs. I don’t think it’s quite as, I don’t know the word I am looking for

Dramatic, maybe?

(laughs) Dramatic. Yeah. I know it wasn’t when I was at Fort Scott. Obviously Netflix is going to blow it up, but it probably goes both ways. It is accurate in the football and the intensity, but the drama of it is probably a little less.