Sooners have more distractions in South Beach

Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.

MIAMI – Adrian Taylor couldn’t hold back.

The time was right and he had to “attack.”

Moments after seeing actor/comedian Jamie Foxx – his second favorite R&B recording artist behind Grammy Award winner R. Kelly – standing in the lobby of the Oklahoma team hotel, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound nose guard rushed over for a chat/photo session.

Taylor was so star struck he didn’t realize until he was halfway through telling Foxx how much he admired him and how all four of his albums were not only in his CD collection but on his iPod that he had just interrupted a conversation with hip-hop singer, songwriter and producer Jermaine Dupri.

“It was OK,” Taylor said of barging in on the two, “they were cool with it.”

Taylor’s “once-in-a-lifetime experience” tells the story of the Sooners’ and Gators’ experiences thus far in south Florida as they prepare for the BCS National Championship Game Thursday.

While the Sooners are staying in the upscale part of South Beach at the luxurious Fontainebleau – which, according to Taylor, must be pronounced Fon-ton-blue to get the full effect – the Gators are being stowed away in Hollywood, Fla., at the equally impressive Westin Diplomat.

The Gators aren’t watching celebrities run the streets, and not as many beautiful women parade around in skimpy clothing.

There aren't as many distractions for UF players.

“Oklahoma’s got the good stuff on South Beach, but what we came here to do is win the football game,” junior cornerback Markihe Anderson said.

“After we win the game, then we’re going to head to South Beach and get out there and do all the things that we missed out on at South Beach.”

Frequent trips to the beach and mall have helped keep the Gators sane as they await their bout with No. 1 OU. Even the occasional card game here and there has helped, but players admit that it’s been hard suppressing the cravings of the glitz, glamour and the feeling of finally getting to touch that South Beach pavement.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Terron Sanders, who is making his first trip to Miami, said he’s had fun keeping his life “low key” the past few days, but wouldn’t mind meeting his favorite artist, who, coincidently, is Foxx.

“Now that I’ve heard that they’ve seen him I hope to see him too,” Sanders said when asked about OU players seeing Foxx at their hotel.

Taylor admits he’s enjoying himself a lot more than he has on past bowl trips, but assures it’s not deterring his focus on Thursday.

“We gotta remember why we came out here: to win the game,” he said. “But we’re in Florida, we’re in Miami, so we have to enjoy ourselves at the same time.

“It’s just great experience. I hope everybody gets to do something like this at least once in their lifetime.”

For now, South Beach can wait for the Gators.

To Anderson, staying away from the temptations has been a good thing for him and his teammates and has the thought of partying on South Beach after a victory that much sweeter.

“Everybody would want to be like, ‘Go, go, go (if they stayed on South Beach),’ but with us staying in Hollywood, people just focus on the task at hand,” he said. “There’s more stuff to get into down there. No one’s howling and moaning about being on South Beach because everyone’s focused. They know that South Beach will be there because we have a couple of days off after the game.

“If we go out of this game with a bang, everybody can go on South Beach together.”

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