MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

October 26, 2012

OU football notes

(Continued)

Ears ringing for Ikard

Saturday night’s game won’t be the first time Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard has heard the “Notre Dame Victory March” played at full tilt. The Oklahoma City native spent his childhood in Catholic schools and graduated from Bishop McGuinness — home of the Fighting Irish. He even made a recruiting visit to Notre Dame.

“It’s kind of a love-hate thing with Notre Dame. I grew up in a Catholic school my entire life. I was always a Notre Dame fan. Their fight song was our high school fight song,” he said. “It’s kind of like the Yankees. You either love them or you hate them.”

Luckily, for the eighth-ranked Sooners, he picked them.

The Sooners’ season could have fallen off the rails before it started. Injuries forced returning center Ben Habern and guard Tyler Evans out before OU even practiced in pads. Habern simply moved from left guard to center and OU hasn’t really missed a beat with Adam Shead and Bronson Irwin becoming full-time starters at the guard spot.

Ikard gave both someone to lean on.

“Gabe’s been great,” Irwin said. “Gabe’s a really smart guy and he’s very familiar with the system and he knows what’s going on so anytime we’re even a little bit unsure, he can help us out and make sure me and Adam are 100 percent sure what’s going on every play.”

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