Lincoln Riley -- Sooners won't do Horns Down vs. Texas

UniqueThis 11 October 7, 2019
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Lincoln Riley found a way to handle the Horns Down controversy that has lingered in the Big 12.

Asked Monday how he'll address the issue with his team for Saturday's Red River Showdown between No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Riley simply said, "Our players won't do it."

The gesture -- turning the Longhorns' Hook 'em Horns sign upside down -- became a hot topic before last season's Texas-OU rematch in the Big 12 championship game after Riley said he had been told by officials that the Sooners couldn't do it or they'd be penalized.

Greg Burks, the Big 12 coordinator of football officials, said at Big 12 media days in July that a player likely would not be called for a penalty if he quickly flashed the Horns Down after scoring a touchdown, but prolonged displays or those directed toward an opposing player or at the opponent's bench would be.

"I know people want us to be definitive on that, but it's like any touchdown celebration," Burks said. "Is it directed at an opponent or just celebration with your teammates?"

West Virginia's David Sills V and Will Grier each earned 15-yard penalties for putting the Horns Down toward fans in the stands during the Mountaineers' 42-41 win in Austin last November.

And while it's long been a favorite of fans of Texas opponents, the controversy became a league issue in 2012 after then-Texas coach Mack Brown addressed it after a Texas-Texas Tech game.

"The Horns Down is disrespectful," Brown said. "We ought to talk about that as a league."

The Horns Down, though, is almost as big a tradition for fans at Oklahoma as the Hook 'em sign is at Texas.

"As long as Horns have been going up, Horns have been going down at Oklahoma," Sooners coach Barry Switzer told ESPN this year. "No one's ever gonna stop doing it."

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