Are players intimidated before a game?

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2009

This is a tough topic to discuss because no one  wants their man card pulled. But I am on the record saying there will be a few players who are in “overawe” of the situation. Although, most folks confuse nervousness with intimidation. Nervousness can cause edge reactions like penalties and early mistakes. Intimidation is manifest in posture and the way a player carries himself.

I remember my first College game against Notre Dame -at home, when we won- and I can tell you I was intimidated -it only lasted a quarter or so, but I was honestly intimidated. Yet, that intimidation stemmed from my inexperience.

Experience is everything in a game against a powerhouse opponent. Understanding the guys on the other sideline are just a nervous as you are, is key. In fact, Oklahoma has everything to lose. All of the pressure is on them. Bradford has to live up to last years success -with a whole new receiving core. Stoops has to prove that he is worth the millions and millions he earns while still being unable to win a bowl game. (I heard a joke down in Texas, but it’s a little off color. Sorry if you don’t like it, but I laughed uncontrollably. What do marijauna and Bob Stoops have in common?)

They are both smoked in bowls.

Yes, there will be a few players on the field who are scared or screwing up and looking bad. Some will look across the field and see mythical football beasts and be unable to get over their awe. But those players are few and far between and more or less haven’t dirtied their jersey’s between the white lines. For those returning players confidence is key. Learning to roll with the punches and keep playing hard is key.

Games are filled with opportunities to fold and give up. Concieding victory to someone the media perceives as superior isn’t something your taught under Coach Mendenhall. If anything it is re-enforced that no one is unbeatable, no one is without weakness and on any given Saturday victory can be taken.