Bowl Notebook (Dec. 28)
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.