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November 30, 2011No one can deny Oklahoma's trip to Stillwater on Saturday for Bedlam will be much more difficult due to the loss of Ryan Broyles.
Broyles, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Texas A&M will travel with the team to Stillwater, but he'll only be able to lend whatever support he can, to a team fighting for their eighth Big 12 title in 13 years under Bob Stoops.
"I still know the play calls and I still know when guys mess up," said Broyles of his role with the team. "I give them my two cents here and there. They just look to me as a guy on the field.
"I'm still coaching the guys up. I'm out there about an hour at practice."
But on Tuesday, it was the first time Broyles had met with the media since tearing his ACL almost a month ago.
He talked for the first time about how it happened.
"I felt it pop when my knee shifted," Broyles recounted. "I didn't know what it was at the time. I could walk on it and put a little pressure on it. I felt like it was good.
"I had a positive attitude. I got on the bench and the doctor did a little click test on both sides. When he did the right one he asked me if I felt that click. I told him yes and he told me I tore my ACL. It's football and it happens."
Anyone watching that game also saw the emotions run through Broyles as he was told he tore his ACL.
They saw his reaction as he was told the news. They saw the tears stream down his face.
"I'm an emotional player and emotional person," he said. "I thought I was good when I got up. He did the test and told me I tore my ACL. First thing that went through my mind was just, 'Wow! It's my senior year.'
"What I was crying about was I'm here to play football and I can't finish the game and I can't finish the season and I can't finish with these guys. That was what hit me."
Right now Broyles says he is ten weeks away from being able to run. He won't be able to perform physically at the NFL combine leading up the draft, but he said he will attend the combine and visit with teams, take the wonderlic test, and do what he can do to impress the decision makers in the league.
"Football is going to be there. There's plenty of guys in the NFL that have torn ACLs. Right after I got hurt everyone was telling me they had torn theirs before. It's not life ending and it's not football ending. That's a positive.
Even though Broyles will end up missing the final three games of the regular season, he still finishes his career as the NCAA's all-time leader in receptions.
He also harbors hope of winning his first Belitnikoff Award as he was named along with OSU's Justin Blackmon and USC's Robert Woods as one of the three finalists.
"I didn't really think I was going to get picked, but it's a great deal," he said of being named a finalist. "It shows the respect people have for me. At the time I got hurt, I was up there with the best. I'm just glad I'm a finalist. I'm going to go out there and enjoy my time, and hopefully my name gets called."
But with Oklahoma State on the horizon, Broyles is ready to be with his teammates for their most important game of the season. A game that is equally as important to OU's sidelined star receiver.
"It would mean a great deal," said Broyles of a victory over the Cowboys. "I came here to win big games. I feel like our guys are capable of doing that.
"We all believe and no one's head is down. Even if we are an underdog, we go to OU. I feel like we're never an underdog. Guys are preparing to win just like we do every week."
Right now it's up to Broyles teammates, and even though he admits it is just as hard on him missing a game against Iowa State as it is the Bedlam showdown with Oklahoma State, he wouldn't do things any different had he known he'd suffer this injury after choosing to come back for his senior season.
"I have no regrets at all," he said. "I played a lot of games here. I gave it my all every time I went out there. It does suck not being able to finish the season. I think our guys have a good level of perspective going into that last game that will really help us out.
"I had fun. I've grown a lot over the past year. I really made some big changes in my life. One is I have a fiance and I'm so proud to say that I have that.
"I think if I went to the NFL, things would have been thrown at me and I wouldn't have been mature enough to handle it. I have no regrets at all."