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Three Things Oklahoma Coach Brent Venables Said ahead of Bedlam

On some key injuries, the environment and the final Bedlam.



[Liz Parke/Big 12]

Brent Venables’ second Bedlam as the Sooners’ head coach could be the last Bedlam ever played.

Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium for what will be the final Bedlam game scheduled (unless both teams meet in the Big 12 Championship) before the Sooners leave for the SEC. Venables met with reporters Tuesday to preview the matchup, where he had high praise for Ollie Gordon. Here are three other things Venables hit on.

Stutsman, Walker Dealing with Ankle Injuries

Danny Stutsman is the Big 12’s second-leading tackler behind Nickolas Martin, but Stutsman left the Sooners’ loss in Lawrence with a left ankle injury.

He has 73 tackles this season to go with 11.5 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

“I feel good about Danny,” Venables said. “He feels pretty confident, but we’ll see. May not be something we don’t know until close to game time.”

Venables said the same is true with running back Tawee Walker, who is also dealing with an ankle injury. The Sooners have struggled to find a bell-cow back this year, but Walker — a walk-on — has been OU’s best ball carrier.

He has rushed 76 times this season for 385 yards and five touchdowns. Both times he has received at least 20 handoffs this season (against SMU and Kansas), Walker has rushed for at least 100 yards. He had a career-high 146 against the Jayhawks last weekend before his injury.

On the Hostile Environment Saturday Will Likely Be

The phrase “hornet’s nest” has been used on a few occasions this week in regards to what the Sooners should be prepared for.

With this not only being a game with Big 12 title implications but also the final Bedlam perhaps ever — Boone Pickens Stadium and its tight sidelines ought to be rocking.

The season stakes for this game aren’t all that different than when OSU knocked off the Sooners in 2021 in Stillwater. It was electric in Boone Pickens Stadium that night, so add on the fact that the Cowboys can send their in-state rival to the SEC on a loss, it ought to be berserk.

“You have to do things differently when you play on the road at a place like that, from an operations standpoint,” Venables said. “Defensively it’s a little quieter when the defense is out there. Our guys got to show some maturity and stay locked in. They’re going to be on top of you at that environment. That is a challenge.”

On the Final Bedlam

Although this is just Venables’ second year heading the ship at OU, he has seen a lot of Bedlam games.

Venables was an assistant on the Sooner staff from 1999 to 2011 before returning at the head coach ahead of last season.

With Saturday’s Bedlam being the last on the schedule for the foreseeable future, Venables said he is too much in the here and now to lend much attention to the end of the rivalry.

“It doesn’t feel weird because you’re not into the future,” Venables said. “I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it doesn’t feel weird. It just feels like it’s Oklahoma State, and it’s a big game and we need to find a way to win. And so you’re more concerned about things that took place last week that you got to get better and who’s going to be available and what kind of schemes you need to have to have a chance to win the game in all three phases. So we’ve got too many other concerns to really think about the future to be very honest with you.”

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