Alex Elkins: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the junior college coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Blinn (Texas) College defensive line coach Keith Browning about Alex Elkins, a 6-4, 235-pound linebacker from Keller, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Keith Browning: The thing that's appealing about Alex is he hasn't played much football. He did the rugby thing until we got him here, and we play football at a fairly high level. The good thing about him as a football player is he doesn't have a bunch of bad habits. He doesn't know what to do or what not to do. He just does what the coach tells him to do, so the good thing is he hasn't developed any bad habits. The fact that he is such a great athlete and the fact that he plays with such high effort is what is going to allow him to be successful.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Keith Browning: I think the speed will obviously be a little bit of factor. He's going to have to get used to everybody being great, as far as there are going to be more athletes on the field than there are at this level. He's such an high effort kid and such a kid that plays with determination and passion for the game, I think that the transition physically may not be as tough as mentally just because he's going to have to go in and learn a new defensive system. I don't think his success will be based on what he can and can't do physically but will be based on how quick he can pick the new scheme up mentally.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Keith Browning: For me (as the defensive line coach), when we would go to our dime package on third-and-long or in end of the game situations when we knew it was going to be a pass, he's so fast and he's so explosive, we said the heck with it, we're going to put him in at defensive end. It was a game-time decision and we pulled this guy out and put Alex in there because he wasn't in our dime package any way. I told him, ‘All I want you to do is just go opposite of the strength call, put your hand on the ground and go get the quarterback.' I never really had time to coach him up but he went out there, he put his hand on the ground and he came off the ball so fast that that offensive lineman overshot on him, he hit him with a club move back inside and got a sack his first time doing it.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Keith Browning: They were the first major school to get in and offer him early. I think that's part of the reason he stuck with them is because they got in on him early. He had a ton of interest from a ton of big schools – North Carolina, Texas A&M, Arizona. But at the end of the day they came in early and they got on him as far as building a relationship with him before anybody else did. At the end of the day I think that's why he stuck with those guys and kind of pushed everybody else to the side.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be two or three years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Keith Browning: If he can get in there and begin maturing as a football player and begin understanding the game, I think the sky is the limit for that kid. Size-wise, he's got it. He fits the part. He's 6-4 and by the time he goes through offseason there and goes through the workouts he'll probably be 235 or 240 pounds, and he runs a 4.5 forty. At the end of the day, when you're 6-4, 240 pounds and run a 4.5 you've got a chance. I think the sky is the limit for him, but to me the thing is how fast he can pick it up mentally. As soon as he does that I think he has a chance to be a really good football player for those guys.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Keith Browning: He's just a good kid. He's always eager to take coaching. He's always eager to get better. He's always got a hunger to work hard in the weight room and to work hard on the practice field. He's just a really good all-around good kid.


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