December 28, 2000 - by
Bowl Game Notebook

Dec. 28, 2000


Bowl Notebook (Dec. 28)
By The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – Three of the players who sparked Auburn’s
offensive
resurgence this season are considering leaving early for the NFL.

Running back Rudi Johnson, receiver Ronney Daniels and fullback
Heath Evans
all have asked the NFL to evaluate their status for the 2001 draft.

The 20th-ranked Tigers (9-3) play No. 17 Michigan (8-3) in the
Citrus Bowl
Monday.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said the main considerations were the
players’
financial needs and where they might be taken in the draft.

“I’ll never stand in the way of anybody because if you talk somebody
into
staying, it’s not going to work,” Tuberville said. “They’ve got to want to
stay for other reasons, not because you’ve talked them into it.”

Johnson, a junior college transfer, was the Southeastern Conference
Player
of the Year and the league’s top rusher, with 1,567 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Daniels is a 24-year-old sophomore who spent three years playing
baseball in
the Montreal Expos’ organization. He set an Auburn single-season record as a
freshman with 56 catches for 1,068 yards and nine TDs. Daniels leads the
team
in receiving this year with 34 catches for 378 yards.

Evans rushed for only 260 yards this year, playing primarily as a
blocking
back and receiver out of the backfield.

SAN DIEGO – Ten is the magic number for Texas.

Coach Mack Brown is talking about it and so are his players. Ten
wins
separates great teams from good ones.

And if Texas (9-2) is to go from being a good team to one capable of
winning
a national championship, Brown said, getting the program’s first 10-win
season
since 1995 is where it starts.

The No. 12 Longhorns get their chance Friday in the Holiday Bowl
against No.
8 Oregon (9-2), another team hoping to make a national statement.

“You can talk about national championships but you’ve got to win
most of
your games every year,” Brown said. “We’ve told our guys we’re not going
under if we lose this game, but if we win it, it sure is a kick step
forward.”

“We’ve won nine games the last three years, it’s about time we
stepped up
and win that 10th game,” safety Greg Brown said. “He wants us to win this.
It
means the world to him. That’s the main focus.”

MIAMI – Even before the Orange Bowl game to decide the BCS
national
championship, No. 1 Oklahoma came out ahead of No. 3 Florida State in the
chase
for a prized recruit.

Brent Rawls, one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks, chose to
attend
Oklahoma over Florida State next year.

Rawls threw 35 touchdown passes and ran for 10 TDs this season at
Shreveport
(La.) Evangel Christian.

“It crossed my mind to wait and see who won to see where I’d go,” he
said.

MIAMI – One person coach Bob Stoops often credits for No. 1
Oklahoma’s
return to national prominence hasn’t thrown a pass, scored a touchdown or
called a play.

Jerry Schmidt’s contribution has come in the weight room and on the
practice
fields, where stories of his strength-and-conditioning program have become
well
known in only two years on the staff.

Stoops made Schmidt his second hire when he got the Oklahoma job. He
had
seen the results of Schmidt’s work while an assistant at Florida, and wanted
the same thing for his new team.

“He has extremely high expectations, which I like, because you have
a
better opportunity of making improvement when you raise the bar,” Stoops
said.
“When you put it at a high level, you’re going to get more from them.”

What Stoops and Schmidt found was that there was plenty of work to
be done
with the Sooners, who had gone through three straight losing seasons.

“After our first conditioning workout, I didn’t know if we’d beat
Norman
North,” Stoops said, referring to a local high school.

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