Quick growing up for Sooners

OU needs a spark in final five games of the season, and Michiah Quick might be that guy.

It would have been easy for someone like Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Michiah Quick to come into Norman and expect to be a superstar.

He has never known anything different. Always a starter, always making the highlight reel plays, always being talked about.

Until now.

Quick had some limited playing time in OU’s first couple of games before being hampered by a nagging groin injury. No catches, no impact. You could call it a humbling process, and Quick is fine with that. Because despite all the high school success, despite being a high four-star recruit, one thing he said he has always been is humble.

The freshman from Fresno, Calif., earned his first start last week and now a lot of OU fans are looking for Quick to ignite a spark in OU’s passing game. The fans aren’t alone in that thought.

“He played well,” wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “He was physical. He was fast. He competed hard. He’s just a strong, athletic kid that likes to play and has a good feel for the game.”

Quick finished the day with two catches for 27 yards, nothing that screams out difference maker at this point. However, heading into the stretch of OU’s schedule, it’s clear the time can be now for Quick in the slot position.

Norvell said it’s tough for wide receivers to play 100 percent when they’re not 100 percent. Quick’s groin injury did affect him even if he was trying to muscle through it.

It was a mental adjustment for Quick, used to posting videogame-like numbers on a routine basis. He could have gotten discouraged, but he said guys like Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and Trevor Knight were among the players telling him to keep his head up.

“I had been practicing like I’ve been starting even though I was in the second spot,” Quick said. “(Biggest difference) playing with guys that are just as good as me or even better. You step onto a Division I atmosphere, and you’re not that guy anymore. You got to start all over again.”

That start seems to be beginning now. OU coach Bob Stoops has routinely talked about how his team needs guys like Quick to mature and step up. For his first start, he put his best foot forward.

“Michiah looked ready for the moment,” Stoops said. “He played hard and played fast. He was really good with his route running. He’s a talented guy who will hopefully keep making improvement.”

Entering the summer, the name Quick was synonymous with running back Joe Mixon. The two were the highest-ranked prospects for OU’s 2014 class and where you saw one, you were likely to see the other.

You combine Mixon’s suspension with Quick not getting to campus until July and then suffering the groin issue, and it would have been easy for Quick to second guess everything. Instead of getting down, though, it drove him even more.

“I knew nothing would be given to me,” Quick said. “I knew I had to work and grind and battle. I just stayed positive and stay focused on what I had to do. I was never homesick or anything like that.”

His mental makeup helped him get through a rough patch, and then his physical gifts started to take over once the groin was healthy. Monday afternoon of the Kansas State week was when Quick was told he would be making his first start.

“It was a big deal to me,” Quick said. “I just kept grinding and waiting for my time. I knew I had to come out and do my job and help the team execute.”

For a player used to be the center of attention, Norvell said Quick has done a great job of adjusting to the little things. If you want to play at OU, then you have to block at receiver. So far that hasn’t been a problem for Quick.

The numbers aren’t there yet, obviously, but Norvell couldn’t have been happier with the way his pupil utilized his first moment.

“To play those number of snaps is important,” Norvell said. “It’s that confidence to know that you’re out there. It’s more of a mental challenge than anything. He did a good job in the game so I’m proud of him.”


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