Difference maker Q&A: Shawn Willis

OSU fullback Shawn Willis talks about his near-basketball career, his first collegiate touchdown and what he feels he needs to work on as Big 12 play approaches...

You originally committed to play basketball at Lamar.  What changed your mind to make you decide to come to OSU?  My favorite sport is basketball, and, at the time, I guess I was kind of going off of a dream.  What ended up really changing my mind were O-State and my mom.  My mom wanted me to come here (to OSU).  She liked the fact that the people are real nice, and it seems like home.  It's not too big.  The coaches assured her that they would take care of me. 


Do you still get on the court to play some hoops?  I still love to play, but I usually only play in the off-season, or during the Christmas Holidays, so it doesn't conflict with football.  I am a wing, I play somewhere out on the perimeter.  In college, I would have been a small forward. 


Are you the best basketball player on the football team?  In some areas, yes, and in some areas, no.  In dunking and vertical leap, and stuff like that, I've probably got most everybody, but some people have a little bit better outside shot than I do.  I'm one of the good ones; I'll put it like that. 


If you could take four other football players to make a basketball team with, whom would you take?  I'd take Fath' Carter.  I would take Charlie Ward, but he's hurt right now.  Aso left, but he was real good.  Darrent Williams would be my point guard. 


Do you think that you can hang with any of the OSU basketball players on the court?  I keep telling Ivan (McFarlin) that I'm gonna dunk on him, but we haven't really had a chance to play.


In your first couple of years, you have moved around to a couple of different positions.  Do you feel like you are finally where you belong, and where you can most help the team?  I think so.  I think I'm where I want to be, and I'm happy right here.  Right here is probably the best position for me to help my team. 


This summer, you ranked as one of the top lifters on the squad.  Have you always spent a lot of time in the weight room, or was this something new this summer?  I always lifted pretty hard.  Since I was up here this summer, I was like, I want to come out strong when two-a-days come, and so I just worked my butt off.  Gary (Calcagno, OSU Conditioning Coach) was there pushing me and helping me all along the way.


Did you feel like, coming into this season, that this was your year to contribute on the field?  Really, I was just trying to come in here and do my best, and see where it led.  The past two years, I kind of got a little down, and had some ups and downs.  This year, I was just trying to be optimistic, and just try to work my butt off and try to get in here to play.  It just kind of worked out for me.


OSU already possesses a dynamic offensive attack.  Do you feel like you can add an additional dimension to this already high-flying offense?  I think so.  In terms of catching the ball, most teams don't cover the flats that well, so if I can get there, and cut up...most people don't want to tackle me up high, so if I can just keep my feet, it can be real good, real positive for our offense.


What can you improve on as a fullback?  My pass protection, and just basic technique stuff.  Getting low, using my hands more, and stuff like that.


As you move into Big 12 play, and defenses key on Rashaun Woods and Tatum Bell, do you see your role increasing in the offense?  I see it kind of increasing, but I know those guys, and those guys veterans.  They are going to do everything they can do.  I'm just there to help. 


Did playing basketball help you as a football player?  It has helped with my feet, running-wise.  Looking at certain things, like how most people are going to try and tackle me, knowing how to pick up my legs at certain times, or take a longer step.     


What label your greatest experience on the football field as a Cowboy?  .   

I would have to say that second touchdown against Wyoming.  Those were my first touchdowns in college.  That one, I actually got to run in, and kind of make some people miss.  It just felt like back in high school when I was a tailback.


Who are some of your best friends on the football team?  Tim Burrough and Tatum Bell.


What does Shawn Willis like to do off the football field?  Most of the time, because I don't have time for too much else, I'm usually just studying.  If I do have some time, I'm probably on the play station. 


What is your favorite place to eat in Stillwater?  El Chico.  The enchiladas, and the fried cinnamon apple pie...no, its the fried Mexican apple pie with cinnamon ice cream on it.


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