OU nuggets: Trio of assistants

Little tidbits and nuggets from OU assistant coaches Dennis Simmons, Diron Reynolds and Kerry Cooks.

Oklahoma first-year defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks has had plenty of opportunities come his way, but he needed the right one in order to leave a spot like Notre Dame.

OU turned out to be that right one. Cooks, who is from Irving, Texas, is now closer to home. It’s good for him and good for his family.

“One of the major moves for me was location,” Cooks said. “My mom’s getting older. I’ve got two girls. They see their grandparents twice a year right now so that was one reason why.”

It couldn’t just be that, though, and Cooks said it had to be the right fit. Going from one school with incredible tradition like Notre Dame to another like OU just made sense.

“They’ve proven to be winners here,” Cooks said. “They’ve won championships here. They’ve been able to recruit at a high level. So all those things, when the job was offered to me, were attractive.”

Reynolds was branching out at Stanford

First-year defensive line coach Diron Reynolds was able to expound upon how everything came together with him and the Sooners. And gave some insight about his time at Stanford even though he was still under contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

“I went out there (Stanford) because they coach an NFL system,” Reynolds said. “They coach the same system the San Francisco 49ers did. It’s exact same system.”

It’s obvious with Reynolds that he likes to soak up and absorb things as much as possible. His numerous coaching positions at various places have given him a vast amount of knowledge that he hopes he can impart now that he’s in Norman.

Simmons under the Leach tree

First-year wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons is in a bit of a unique situation regarding how he came to OU. He knows the system of offense he wants to employ, having coached with Mike Leach. He knows what the expectations are from Lincoln Riley.

“They’re both highly intelligent and have incredible memories,” Simmons said. “We were all raised by Mike. In a sense, we grew up with him. Like Lincoln, like Dana (Holgorsen), like Sonny (Cumbie) or others, I was one of those guys who had an opportunity to sit there and learn the good from Mike and put my own spin on it.”

Leach, of course, is known for his crazy stories. Simmons, though, said you’re not going to find that with Riley.

“His stories are not that entertaining,” said Simmons, with a laugh.

Freeney the example

Reynolds has a wealth of NFL experience to fall back on, which he is hoping to use to his advantage when coaching at OU. His prized pupil? Dwight Freeney.

“I got Dwight as a pup,” Reynolds said. “Dwight’s first year was my first year in the league so we kind of grew together. He’s a real good friend, real good athlete, real good person.”

And he’ll be able to use Freeney as the example of Reynolds’ teachings being effective. All Reynolds has to do, if necessary, is show tape of Freeney being a monster coming off the edge, and it’s easy to see why OU players would buy in to what he’s saying.

Montgomery a key with Cooks

It was a great plan. Jerry Montgomery helps persuade longtime friend Kerry Cooks to join him at OU and get the Sooners defense back on track.

In theory, a great plan. Of course that all changed when Montgomery accepted a position with the Green Bay Packers a week after signing day. Still, he played a role in getting Cooks to consider the Sooners.

“Coach Montgomery was two years behind me at the University of Iowa so I’ve known Jerry since I was 20,” Cooks said. “We’ve been very close. He reached out to me a few times and I guess was kind of gauging my interest really without me knowing because he didn’t give much insight.

“But he definitely had a role and was definitely very fortunate that he was kind of the connection and catalyst for the whole thing.”

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