Demarco Murray heads into OU's road contest on Saturday with the Baylor Bears banged up. Injuries are nothing new to the senior running back who has plenty of good and plenty of bad at Oklahoma. But this season's road woes are a new challenge for Murray and this Sooner program. Winning on the road is the challenge while blocking out everything that doesn't contribute to that goal has been the focus this week, including the pain of being banged up.
Q: Well, how are you feeling? It sounds like you went through practice. Murray: Yeah, I've been at practice all week. It was just a little bruised during the game, but I'll be ready this weekend.
Q: Bob didn't want to talk about what was bruised, but clearly it was your ribs. How are they? Murray: I'm fine, I haven't missed practice. I could have kept playing in the game (the other day), but we had it handled. Our offense did well, so I decided to come out.
Q: Scheme-wise, what do you see from Baylor? Murray: Yeah, everybody knows about their quarterback. He's a great athlete and the leader of that team. Defensively, their much improved from since I've been here. Last year, they were a good team and played us well. They're good up front and good in the secondary, so we have to continue to take care of the ball.
Q: Kevin Wilson was talking about a couple of guy on the interior who weigh upwards of up to 340 pounds. Have you looked at them much and what do you see? Murray: Yeah, there are some big guys up front. They're probably some of the biggest guys we've seen all year. But we have some huge guys on our side too. It will be a dog fight in the trenches, but that's always where it starts. I'm sure they're preaching to their guys to stop the run, and that it starts with the defensive line. But we preach the same thing, we tell our guys that everything starts rolling when those guys up front play well.
Q: When you go through a year like this where there's all this talk outside of the program about what you guys are struggling with, how important is it just to rely on your coaching staff who's been through championships and who knows how to move this program forward? Murray: Yeah, I never really listen to the critics or people who pat you on the back. They're not here during the summers or spring, they don't see all the hard work we go through. We know we're a family here and we know what we have to do to win games. We know what we have to do in order to continue to get better. I never really listen to what's going on outside the program.
Q: Is that something you've learned from being around here for four years? Murray: You can say that, but even in high school I never really read newspaper articles or things that were written about me. It just wasn't something that fascinated me.
Q: Is that something this team is learning to do? Murray: Well, I don't really know who listens to the media, or who thinks that we aren't as good as we are. We know what we have to work on, we know what we have here and we know that we need to improve each week.
Q: You've been through many different seasons here. You've gone to the national championship and you had last year that was a disaster. How would you describe this season? Murray: It's been a fun year, I've had fun every year that I've been here besides last year. Each year it's a different team and a different group of guys, you can't expect the same outcome every year. But I've always had fun, that's my No. 1 goal: Have fun, play hard and win a bunch of games. That's what we've been about in three of the four years I've been here.
Q: We were watching the video board as you guys came out last Saturday and noticed that you led the team, for the first time, onto the field. Murray: Yeah, I've been trying to get out there in front. Usually, I'm always the last guy because I'm either saying a couple of prayers or listening to one more song on the I-pod. That usually lends me to being the last one out. So, I've been trying to get out in front and have more excitement. This is my last year, I've never been able to lead the team out. It was definitely fun, definitely something that will get you going.
Q: Was it a point of emphasis to do since it was your last home game? Murray: I've been trying to do it for the past couple of games, it wasn't anything like that. It was just something I've felt I wanted to do.
Q: Did you enjoy your last game at home? Murray: Yeah, it was a good game.
Q: Is it hard to believe it's gone already? Murray: You can say that, it has been a roller coaster since I've been here. There have been a lot of good times and a lot of tough times for me. At the end of the day, I look at all of the positive things that we've accomplished as a team and how much fun I've had. I look at all of the relationships I've gained with all of the relationships I've gained with my teammates and coaches. It's been an unbelievable experience that I've been blessed to have. It can never be taken away from me.
Q: Do you remember how you felt in your first game? Murray: I think I was more nervous than excited.
Q: It won't be here, at Owen Field, but you'll have a couple of more chances to make more memories. Murray: Yeah, hopefully we have four more games left. We'll see.
Q: With the way this sets up, playing the last two games on the road, it seems like it could be a really special way to end the season after all the things that have happened this year. Murray: Everybody always makes a big deal about our performances on the road. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter where you play. If you're the better team, you're going to win no matter what. We're going to have to come out and play like we're at home. We can't let the noise or anything get us off our game. At the end of the day, we know it's not where you play but how you play. We have to continue to do the things we've done when we won games.
Q: It would seem like, if you put together a good outing this week in a road game, it would set up nicely for next week when you guys head to Stillwater. Murray: Yeah, we just can't put so much pressure on ourselves. We have to face reality that we're on the road and it doesn't matter if we're playing at Baylor. We're playing on grass, just like we do everywhere else. At the end of the day, Baylor and Oklahoma State are good teams. We're going to have to find that comfort zone that we find at home.