Running back Samaje Perine took a while to answer. Coming off an incredible freshman season at Oklahoma, Perine was asked Monday morning what was the question he had been asked the most since the end of last season.
His answer was about everybody wondering how good Joe Mixon looks.
Despite Perine being the only OU player even remotely in the Heisman conversation, a lot of the focus is going toward the redshirt freshman. After a year of waiting, the time is finally almost here for Mixon.
“This is probably going to be the longest week for him,” Perine said. “It’s here, but he’s still got to wait these few more days.”
Mixon, a five-star recruit, was suspended last season because of an off the field incident and will make his long awaited OU debut Saturday.
One thing OU fans won’t have to worry about is his energy level. Mixon has been all over the place during camp, bringing his unique brand of energy.
“He’s a little bit like Eric Striker in that he always some juice going, getting guys excited,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “You can tell, it’s like a lot of these guys, that the best part of his day is being out here, and it’s not like that with everybody. Joe’s a little bit like that on the other side of the ball.”
Examples have been relayed throughout camp. Whenever a teammate makes a big play, no matter who it is, Mixon is said to be running down there to celebrate.
The Sooners are going to be relying on a lot of experience on both sides of the ball, but it’s clear Mixon might bring something a little different to the table than what anybody else can bring with his energy and attitude.
“It’s huge for us,” quarterback Trevor Knight said. “You can get up as a team when a guy makes a big play. He has that capability. He also has the intangibles to get guys going with just his morale – just with the presence he has on the sideline and the field. It’s things like that you can’t really teach or coach.”
Being suspended from all team activities last season might have given Mixon a chance to reflect on his situation and make him more determined than ever to be sure to have these years in Norman count.
Mixon has been said to be a special blend on the field. He’s big, but he’s fast. He’s powerful, but he’s elusive. He can catch it out of the backfield, but he might also become the punt returner for the Sooners.
The sky’s the limit for Mixon, and it’s clear his spirit is starting to carryover with some of his teammates.
“It’s one of his most impressive characteristics,” said running backs coach Jay Boulware about Mixon’s energy. “Some guys are quiet leaders. Others lead by example. And then there are others who pick others up. He’s one of those enthusiastic guys that makes plays and is the first to congratulate. He has a great enthusiasm for the game.”
A game Sooner fans are giddy to finally see at Owen Field on Saturday.