Offensive weekly Q&A: WR Sterling Shepard

NORMAN, Okla. — Wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught his first career touchdown the other night, and Sooners Illustrated caught up with him to ask him what that moment was like and more.

Q. How does it feel now that you got your feet wet, you got a start, you got a touchdown? I mean, now do you feel like you're officially set in an Oklahoma Sooner [uniform] now?

A. Yeah, it feels good. I just kinda got those out of the way now. Hopefully I can just have more to come. Wish we'd have came out with the W, though.

Q. I know that put a damper on things. The four wide receiver set. Talk about it because they've run four wides before, but they've usually gone with three outside receivers and now they've got two slot receivers. So, tell me just the idiosyncrasy of it getting you guys open and the things you have to do:

A. I just think it puts a lot more athletes on the field. It gives us a variety of things to do and it just expands everything. And I don't think they did it much before. They're just kinda throwing it in there just to put more guys on the field that can make plays. So, we just try to spread it out.

Q. When you signed with Oklahoma, did you want to make this kind of impact this quick?

A. Definitely. That's what I was coming in to do, to come in and play and help the team any way I can. So yeah, that's exactly what I was doing.

Q. What did the bye week going into that game, what did that do for you?

A. I mean, it helped us out. We needed the bye week for sure. I think that if we would have pushed a little harder, then the outcome would have been a little different. But, I mean, we were right there. We just hurt ourselves. That was the only thing.

Q. What did it do for you, though?

A. I mean, it helps. Practice always helps me out. Kenny teaching me new things, you know, how to get open and Justin teaching me some new things. So yeah, practice definitely helps.

Q. How did it feel for you to get into the end zone for the first time, first off, and then how much of a relief is it three games in to get your first touchdown?

A. The first one I got banged up a lot trying to get in there, but when I got in, it was a big relief and kinda just sighed afterwards.

Q. How much of the fact that you're a so-called gym rat, whatever you guys call it for football, guys that study football, you've been around it all your life, how much has that helped you with this college experience coming in and getting ready to play in a hurry?

A. I think in high school I worked real hard so that I could get to this level and that helped me a lot being in the weight room all the time and running and stuff. So yeah, it definitely helped.

Q. Well, everyone weekend, too, you're either catching the ball from uncles or you're doing a lot of things. I mean, you're always playing football somewhere?

A. Yeah, I'm always playing football, so it definitely helped out [in] coming to this level.

Q. What's the biggest transition you had to make from high school to college?

A. Everybody's a lot more physical and faster, so the pace is a lot more faster and I just had to get that down. And once I got that down, it became easier and easier. But I still have a lot of work to do, still trying to get better.

Q. They always say that slot position's an instinctive position. So, talk about that from your standpoint and how you gotta feel your way through it?

A. Yeah, you definitely have to have a knack for getting open and finding gaps in the defense. So, that's definitely one of the things that I had to transition to, too, is just kinda finding a way to get open. Yeah, just finding a way to get open.

Q. With your presence in the slot, that might give Kenny [Stills] the chance to get outside [again]. Just talk about your role in the offense moving forward. When you get recruited, they tell you you're gonna get a lot of playing time as a freshman. But to actually get it, what's that mean?

A. It means a lot, and Coach Norvell has never lied to me about anything. And he's trusted in me so far, so I just gotta prove him right and show that I can get out there and play with everybody. So, it just definitely frees Kenny up a lot, too. Me being out there just puts a lot more athletes on the field.

Q. How's the morale of the team been since the loss this last couple of days? Has there been an extra step up in intensity?

A. Yeah definitely. I mean, when you come off a loss you definitely have to come back with some fire because you can't be down about it. It'll be a bad impact on the team. So, everybody's just pushing a little bit harder because we don't want to have that feeling again.

Q. Have you seen the veteran guys act any different the last two days of practice, Landry, Kenny trying to maybe force the issue a little bit?

A. Yeah, I mean, nobody's being lackadaisical. Everybody's flying around out in practice and just trying to amp up the intensity a little bit more.

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