Guerin Emig: Remembering John Blake for who he was with his Sooners, not the results of their football together

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A sports figure passes away, his old fan base remembers him fondly. It’s how it should be.

And so Oklahoma football fans remembered John Blake on Thursday not as the coach who struggled with the players who won the Sooners’ last national championship in 2000, but as the man who brought those players to Norman in the first place.

Goodness could Blake recruit. His 1998 signing class — Roy Williams … Rocky Calmus … Andre Woolfolk … Trent Smith … Curtis Fagan … Frank Romero … Damian Mackey — should probably be marbled outside Owen Field with those Heisman Trophy winners.

Blake could play a little in his day, too. He was Barry Switzer’s All-Big 8 nose guard at the turn of the 1980s. He contended for a couple national championships himself, won a couple Orange Bowls.

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