Now working for BYU football, Coleby Clawson still ‘sorry’ for hit that sidelined Sooners’ Sam Bradford
BYU’s director of football athletic performance says he thinks about 14-13 upset of No. 3 OU in 2009 often, especially this week
It has been more than 14 years since BYU linebacker Coleby Clawson’s clean hit on Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford caused the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner to suffer a Grade 3 sprain of his right shoulder that would result in season-ending surgery, but Clawson still thinks about the Cougars’ 14-13 upset win in 2009 on almost a weekly basis.
“I think about it often. It was a fun game. One of the highlights of my career, for sure,” Clawson said Tuesday in Provo, where he is now BYU’s director of football athletic performance.
Of course, Clawson is thinking about it even more than usual this week, because the No. 14 Sooners (8-2) will be in town Saturday to take on the reeling Cougars (5-5) at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Oklahoma was a 22-point favorite in that season opener at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in 2009. The Sooners are 24-point favorites this week, which is about the only similarity from 2009.
That, and Oklahoma has another Heisman-caliber quarterback, former UCF QB Dillon Gabriel.
“It should be another fun game,” Clawson said as he walked off the practice field Tuesday. “Our players can’t wait.”
At least one Oklahoma fan hasn’t forgotten Clawson’s big hit, either.
Seth Oliveras posted the famous photo of Clawson staring down at Bradford as the QB writhed in pain on X and wrote, sarcastically, “me: ‘I don’t hold grudges.’”
Clawson repeated Tuesday what he said two days after the game — that he was “sorry” that Bradford was injured on the play.
He said there was “a little bit” of fallout and angry online responses directed toward him in the hours and days after the hit, but he hasn’t heard anything negative about it for years.
“You get some hecklers online, but you kinda expect that,” he said. “Overall, Oklahoma fans were very, very respectful (at the game), even to my wife. She was wearing my jersey and they congratulated her and my family on a good win. So we never were given trouble. We got a lot of love from the Oklahoma fans. But not much fallout.”
Even now, Clawson prefers to talk more about the upset win than his one hit, which he acknowledged in the days after the game “probably helped us win” because Bradford didn’t play in the second half.
“I remember Oklahoma having lots of big guys and playing a very, very physical game,” he said. “We went in there very confident in our team and our game plan.
“Again, it wasn’t the hit that was the highlight of my career. It was just that we got to play in a big game on a big stage against a very good team, and we were fortunate to come out with a win.”
Clawson married Breanna Hill while in college and graduated from BYU a few years later, then embarked on a career in physical therapy and strength and conditioning, landing back at BYU a few years ago.
Cougars on the air
No. 14 Oklahoma (5-2, 8-2)
at BYU (2-5, 5-5)
Saturday, 10 a.m. MST
LaVell Edwards Stadium
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM
A couple of his teammates from 2009 — guys such as Jan Jorgensen, Harvey Unga and Brandon Bradley — are on the current BYU football support staff as well. As Jorgensen walked past an interview session Tuesday, Clawson pointed out that the 2009 Cougars had a combination of talent, belief and cohesion that allowed the upset to happen.
“I don’t know if we were underrated or overrated or whatever,” he said. “We just had a lot of guys that were bought in to a good system and a lot of guys that were hungry to play. I wish we could have a couple of games back from that year — that Florida State game and that TCU game. But yeah, we played a lot of good football and had a lot of fun guys and a good group to play with.”