Jordan Evans' father, Scott, couldn't give him much advice about playing linebacker, but he sure knew about the Red River Showdown.
Scott Evans told his son about the first-game goosebumps and the butterflies. He didn't - or couldn't - say anything to warn his son about the crack-back block coming on the opening kick-off of Jordan Evans' freshman year with the Sooners.
When Jordan Evans got to his his phone after the game, his father - a three-time All-Big 8 defensive tackle for the Sooners - had a message for him: Well, Welcome to OU-Texas.
Scott Evans has been giving his son advice for years about what it means to be an Oklahoma Sooner.
"He went through the same thing," Jordan Evans said of his dad, who played one year in the NFL before settling back in Norman. "He basically told me you've gotta work hard each and every day. Don't take any plays off. Give maximum effort. At the end of the day, it's all up to me. . . . He did know that in order to get there, you've gotta work hard."
Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) prepares for its annual rivalry game against Texas (1-4, 0-2) this weekend. It'll be Jordan Evan's third Red River Showdown, his second start but his first as one of Oklahoma's top defenders.
Last year, Evans was forced into a starting role before the season with the loss of Frank Shannon. Shannon, who was the team's leading tackler two years ago, came back again this offseason, and Evans had to retain his starting spot back.
He's done just that, and since Oklahoma doesn't usually swap its linebackers much because of scheme, Shannon hasn't seen the field much this season.
"That's predicated on Jordan," Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "Jordan Evans has played very consistently and very well. . . . The players that are most prepared have to play."
Evans recorded his first career touchdown against West Virginia and is second on the team in tackles with 32, behind only fellow Oklahoman Dominique Alexander. The two have developed a unique relationship and could be a three-year starting tandem before it's all over.
"Our chemistry is just pushing us to another level," Alexander said. "We're just pushing ourselves to be the best players for the defense. The leadership I've seen him gain from last year to this year is huge. . . . He's just taking his game to a whole 'nother level."
With help from his father, his middle linebacker partner and even Shannon, who has helped support Evans' growth, the safety-turned-middle-linebacker has a chance for his best Red River Showdown performance yet.
"We know they’ll come out ready for us and play like they’re the best team," Evans said. "We’re going to expect them to be a great team when we play against them. We’re not going to take them lightly."