Q-A lot of your improvement has been just making the right plays instead of great ones. Is that what you sense in your game?
A-Yeah, not trying to do too much, not trying to make the spectacular throw, just make the throw that's there.
Q-How is it to get back to football?
A-Yeah, I mean, it's nice getting back to football, going out there and playing and using the gifts God's given me, but I'll say it's definitely more real now that the season's upon us.
Q-Does it upset you people sometimes say that football isn't your No. 1 priority?
A-I don't know. It doesn't really upset me. Definitely if you're on this team, you really know how much I'm into football. And, I mean, outside opinion is outside opinion. But if people say that, I don't really look into it, like it doesn't like bother me or it doesn't make me like drive or anything like that. But, I mean, there's definitely times to be into football and there's time to live your life, you know, but I think as a football player, you kind of have to balance those things and know when football's important and know when other things are important as well, you know, so yeah, but, I mean, if you're on this team, you know how dedicated I am, and you know when it's time to strap on the helmet and play ball and you have my 100 percent attention and focus.
Q-It seems that everyone is talking about your increased leadership role. How has that come about?
A-Well yeah, that comes with experience. You know, my redshirt freshman year coming from high school, I thought I knew how to lead a college team, and I learned a lot of lessons on that way and even last year learned even more lessons, so just polishing my leadership and becoming the player who I am today.
Q-Is that just anything more than meaning what you say or doing what you say you do?
A-I think it's just being consistent in what you say and what you do. And, you know, I just have to reflect the words that come out of my mouth and if you're saying one thing and doing another thing, then you lose respect from your teammates, I think.
Q-Coach Stoops made a comment about Coach Heupel's hair. That's the only difference compared to Coach Wilson. He said it was unkept. What are your thoughts on that?
A-Unkept? I don't know how I'd describe Coach Heupel's hair. I mean, I go for a good shave and then go. It's simple. It's easy. I don't know about the part down the middle. I don't know if I agree with that, but, I mean, he's going to do what he's going to do. I'm not really looking at his hair that much anyways.
Q-So you would say it's sloppy?
A-It's okay. I would just say it's hair. I wouldn't say there's anything special about it.
Q-What have you seen on the progression of tight end converted tackle Lane Johnson?
A-Yeah, Lane came in as a tight end and then kept gaining weight, started bouncing around to different positions. He's just so athletic, you try to find a spot for him on the field. I mean, he's 300 pounds now but still runs like 4-6, 4-7, you know, so you got to find a spot for that guy on the field. And I think left tackle or right tackle, whichever he does, he's going to be successful at just because his talent level and there's not a lot of guys that can take and be that big and move that quickly, you know.
Q-Do you feel like last year was a little bit of a whirlwind. You get a couple of narrow escapes, and you're No. 1. You have an unbelievably tough game at Missouri with Game Day there. Did it kind of catch up to you guys a little bit?
A-I just think we didn't play good. I mean, I don't know if the hype really caught up to us. I just think we played pretty poorly at Missouri. You know, you get down inside the 30 or the 20, wherever we were at, a couple turnovers end scoring drives where you get at least three points. You add at least three points there, and I can't remember how much we lost by, but it was a really tight game, you know, so I know that I threw a pick and then Mossis [Madu] had a fumble down there, and I think there might have been one more, but, I mean, you can't do that, especially on the road where it's so hard to win anyways.
Q-How much did playing well down the stretch help your confidence into this year?
A-Yeah, for sure. Those games, just you always remember those games, and you feel confidence from those. I think I grew a lot in those games just realizing that you don't have to make the spectacular throw. You just have to make the throw that's there. And so just knowing that you can be in those tight situations and perform at a high level still is something that I definitely learned how to do last year in those last three games.
Q-Did something just click at halftime of the Texas A&M game?
A-Mainly it was a different attitude or mindset or just learning that, I mean, really in the game of football it really doesn't matter how you play in the first half or whatever. It just matters how you finish and what the final score is at the end of the game, so saying like in Oklahoma State, I threw three picks in the first half, just kept playing, kept playing, kept playing and turned it around in the second half and started playing pretty good ball and eventually we won the game. So, I think you just learn how to play in those situations.
Q-Did you take something from that fourth quarter of the Missouri game last year?
A-Yeah, you take something from each loss and grow from it for sure.
Q-Do you see Kenny Stills making a really big jump?
A-Yeah, I think he's really starting to step into a leadership role and having more voice on this team. You know, last year he came in as a freshman and he played really well. And you could tell that he had a lot of leadership qualities, but I think this year he's trying to put those into effect.
Q-Does he look bigger? Is he gaining weight?
A-Yeah, I think he gained--I don't know how much he weighed last year, but I think he gained 10 pounds, I think, something around there.
Q-What about all your receivers? It seems like you've got a lot of guys to choose from this year.
A-Yeah, I mean, everyone talks about Kenny and Ryan, but, I mean, DeJuan Miller, Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks. You know, just got a lot of guys that could step up and play. You know, got a lot of talent out there, so it'll be interesting this year to see what the rotation is and how everything turns out.
Q-Was it a pretty special summer for you with some of the stuff that you did (Haiti trip, etc.)?
A-Yeah, I mean, we went down to Haiti and now it's just a great trip when you get to go down there and suppress with your teammates. It's just something that supernatural goes on in you. There's a bond there, and it's almost like you get to like a--you're using your talents, but you're using your talents for God's purposes. You know, it's almost like a worship session. You're using your talents on Saturdays and then you build that perform. You get to use it, and you get to go do trips like Haiti or speak to churches or have authority to speak to your teammates. It's almost like that's such a calling, you know, so just getting to go down to Haiti was one of the, I think, one of the better things we've done this summer, one of the best experiences of my life.
Q-How crucial was it to get the proposal to Whitney Hand out of the way before the start of the season?
A-Yeah, that was pretty crucial, you know, but right now I'm going to try to start talking about football a little bit more and do the story about that, so you want to learn anything about that it's all, I don't know where it's printed at, so.
Q-With what happened to Austin Box, not to trivialize his life, but is that something that you guys are kind of playing for him this year?
A-Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you never want anything like that happening to your teammate. You know, we talk about it all the time that we're like brothers, you know, but if you haven't been on a team, you haven't played like college sports, it's [hard to explain]. You spend more time with these people than you do your actual family. You know, and some guys are from California, all over the [country]. They can't go home on Thanksgiving, so you'll eat together. So, just losing a guy like Box, who was the total team guy. You never want to lose a brother for how close we came. That's just not worth it.
Q-How did you find out about his passing away?
A-We were out painting some houses, sharing the gospel, that whole deal, and Coach Ross--we went down there with the women's basketball team--so Coach Ross brought us up all together, and she kind of broke the news to us.
Q-Did you share a moment there?
A-Yeah, you lose someone like that who's been so close to you for such a long time and it's just a bad day. Like you're on a trip like that, and it's the best moment in your life, and then something like that happens, it's the worst moment.
Q-Have you made any decision on wearing the number or not?
A-I still need to talk to Austin's parents to see. I mean, if they want me to wear, then I'll wear it. But if they don't want me to wear [I won't]. I'm going to do whatever his family wants me to do.
Q-After being less consistent on the road that at home and the big game early in the year, how anxious are you to get to Tallahassee?
A-Yeah, it's just going to be a good game. You know, going down to Tallahassee, it takes extra focus, a little extra effort to win on the road. You got everything going against you immediately once you step on the field before the game even starts. So, you kind of have to create your own momentum in those types of games.
Q-What exactly drew you to OU?
A-I remember taking visits all around to different type of schools, and I was kind of struggling on picking what school I wanted to attend, and I was talking to my dad about it. He said, ‘Whenever you know, you know.' And so whenever I was here on campus, just liked the family atmosphere, got along real well with the coaches and just their tradition of this school. They're competing for national championships year-in, year-out, and that kind of went through me.
Q-How much did the great quarterbacks and their development attract you to OU?
A-Yeah, I mean, just being able to play in this offense, just have talent around you, they're going to be a drop back team, just kind of felt that fit me and what my talents were.
Q-If it was back in 1997 before these great quarterbacks, would it have been a different situation, though?
A-Yeah, it might have been a different deal, but I think maybe at the end of the day, I don't know if I would have came here or not, but if I took my visit and I liked it, I would have came, you know. So, it might have been a little different from then and then now.
Q-Have you got a sense of Josh's imprint on the offense yet, and if so can you elaborate?
A-Yeah, I think you'll see more during the season. Right now, we're just like installing offense. You know, so it's kind of--like you said, it's only day three. We're still installing that stuff, and I think at the end of camp, we'll have a better idea of like his imprint, but I think when you'll get what Hype and what Coach Heupel wants to do is a couple games into the season. I think that's when you'll see a definite idea.
Q-Are you looking forward to seeing it in complete action on the field?
A-Right yeah, and so I'm just excited to see how Coach Heupel does, and it's nice to have offensive coordinator in your room where you can kind of just sit down and talk to him about stuff.
Q-How much have you grown as a quarterback since your redshirt freshman year?
A-I think a lot. I think for a quarterback, that's one of the areas you kind of have to learn and grow into, and so for me, just being able to learn from my mistakes. Just like Nebraska, you throw five picks in that game, it kind of crushes you as a young quarterback, and you always remember that one. But just learning from your mistakes and making sure you don't make the same one again.
Q-Coach Stoops has been comparing you to the previous quarterbacks before you and talking about your humility. How do you respond to that?
A-Yeah, I think so. I think you can't like be too high on yourself, but you also have to have enough confidence to be able to go out there and play. It's odd for Coach Stoops to say about [me]. Humility is kind of like a good quality to have, I think, as far as leadership goes as well, too. You know, so you can kind of take jokes and have confidence about yourself but not be arrogant.
MORE MEDIA DAY COVERAGE:
Stoops Takes Podium at OU Media Day
Venables Discusses Defense
Heupel Addresses Offense
Media Day: Linebacker Corey Nelson
Media Day: Linebacker Tom Wort
Media Day: Wide Receiver Kenny Stills
Media Day: Slot Receiver Ryan Broyles
Media Day: Wide Receiver Dejuan Miller
Media Day: Linebacker Travis Lewis
Media Day: Running Back Roy Finch
Media Day: DB Tony Jefferson
Media Day: Defensive End Ronnell Lewis
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