Why Oklahoma’s LED Lights, Other New Traditions Are a ‘Game Changer’ for the Sooners – Sports Illustrated
NORMAN — Long-time Oklahoma football fans might have been caught off guard. For that matter, some players were, too.
When the Sooners last played at Memorial Stadium, it marked the debut of OU’s new LED light system. When players reached the end zone, it set off a light show.
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Don’t underestimate what $3.7 million can buy for a college football team.
“When you see the LED lights and you’re on the other sideline,” said OU running back Eric Gray, “you’re like, ‘Oh snap. We’re in it now.’ “
Gray began his career at Tennessee, and when the Vols played at Alabama, he felt the impact of what a customizable light show can have.
“I was like, ‘I’m a little scared now,’ ” Gray said. “It’s definitely good. Definitely plays a part in the home atmosphere and gets the crowd going, which is all a part of it.”
Offensive guard McKade Mettauer is another Sooner transfer who’s felt the other team’s energy from colored, flashing lights as a visitor — and didn’t like it. That was his freshman year at Cal, when he and the Bears visited Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.
“You’re in there and it’s intimidating because they’re not your people,” Mettauer said. “They’re trying to make you jump offsides. I think my freshman year I had like three offsides penalties playing there.”
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OU debuted the new light system — priced at $3.7 million this offseason, part of a $16 million facility upgrade — on Sept. 10 against Kent State. That game kicked off at 6 p.m., and the sun set just after halftime.
This Saturday, OU opens Big 12 Conference play against Kansas State with a 7 p.m. kickoff, and being two weeks later, the entire game will be played after dark.
Expect lots of fireworks — if not from the OU offense, then from the Owen Field lights crew.
“That Kent State (game), towards the end, was the greatest game atmosphere that I’ve ever been a part of — especially with everyone cheering for me,” Mettauer said. “I’ve been to places like that, but I was always on the other side of it, which wasn’t very fun. But now that it’s us with all the LEDs and the atmosphere, it totally was a game changer.”
Tight end Daniel Parker transferred from Missouri, where he also played in …….