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Friday, January 2, 2009
DB Jackson left at home as Sooners arrive in Miami

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

MIAMI -- Oklahoma redshirt freshman defensive back Desmond Jackson was left behind for disciplinary reasons, but the rest of the Sooners arrived in Miami Friday intent on starting final preparations for next Thursday's FedEx Bowl Championship Series title game against Florida.

"Now that we're down here and on our way to practice, guys are going to focus," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "Obviously, it's getting closer, and I'm sure their focus will increase as it gets closer."

Jackson appeared in nine games with the Sooners this season, contributing eight tackles (three solo, five assists) and one pass broken up in a reserve role.

The Sooners have said they plan to arrive in Miami with a different attitude, hopeful of turning around their recent struggles in BCS games. Oklahoma has lost four straight BCS games in the last five years, including an embarrassing 48-28 loss to West Virginia in last season's Fiesta Bowl.

Several players said before leaving Oklahoma they plan to ask for an earlier curfew to help the team get focused for the game.

But Stoops isn't ready to discuss any changes he might have planned.

"None of it is significant enough to make a difference," Stoops said. "Things that worked for us at the (2003) Rose Bowl didn't work the next time, so who's to say what's right and wrong. In the end, you've got to go out and play well when the time comes."

The Sooners hope to steer clear from some of the distractions that marked their preparations before last season's Fiesta Bowl. Defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger was sent home from the bowl last year after he was arrested for shoplifting.

"Miami is a great town, but just like any big city there's another element to it ... it's no different than any other big city," Stoops said. "A lot of our guys are from big cities and hopefully we'll conduct ourselves the right way and stay away from trouble."