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OU football: Grant Burget, Barry Switzer's original halfback with Sooners, dies at age 69

Burget
Burget

OU football’s Barry Switzer era began with a game at Baylor on Sept. 15, 1973. The Sooners won 42-14, but Switzer was distraught after the game. Junior halfback Grant Burget had suffered a major knee injury.

Switzer wasn’t just bemoaning the loss of a good player. He felt awful for Burget. Everyone felt awful for Burget.

“Probably the most well-liked (OU) player since 1970,” said Dean Blevins, who played quarterback at OU 1974-77 and is the long-time sports director at KWTV in Oklahoma City.

Burget died Friday at his Chandler home. He was 69.

“He’s a tough old bird,” said Barry Burget, who followed his older brother to OU to play football. “He’s had a rough few years. Particularly the last few months.”

Over the years, Grant Burget suffered from a variety of illnesses, including cancer and a heart condition.

But Burget was a heck of an athlete. He was an all-state football player at Stroud High School.

“He was just an incredible athlete,” Barry Burget said. “Everything he tried, he was good at it.

“Our dad was a coach. Every time there was a track meet or a basketball game, we were on his coattails. Probably saw 500 games before we ever played one.”

Burget gained 244 yards on 47 carries as a 1972 sophomore at OU. Then he ascended to the starting role in 1973 and had 30 yards on four carries before the injury at Baylor.

Burget returned in 1974 and split time at right halfback with freshman Elvis Peacock, opposite Joe Washington. Burget gained 379 yards on 65 carries, with eight touchdowns, on the ‘74 national-championship team.

“Competitor is a word that comes to mind,” Barry Burget said. “Playing Class B football in Stroud was one thing. But to start with Joe Washington and those guys … I think he knew he couldn’t run like Joe, but he could block for Joe.”

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at btramel@oklahoman.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

Related Photos
<strong>OU halfback Grant Burget (25) tries to avoid a tackle during a 1972 game. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</strong>

OU halfback Grant Burget (25) tries to avoid a tackle during a 1972 game. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a1280001fc4020bf32f9e7f91cf4d580.jpg" alt="Photo - OU halfback Grant Burget (25) tries to avoid a tackle during a 1972 game. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" OU halfback Grant Burget (25) tries to avoid a tackle during a 1972 game. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> OU halfback Grant Burget (25) tries to avoid a tackle during a 1972 game. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-70c5f63755b1008aaf3941984849e48f.jpg" alt="Photo - Burget " title=" Burget "><figcaption> Burget </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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