NORMAN – Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops used some powerful words Tuesday afternoon. He was discussing the development of junior college linebacker transfers Emmanuel Beal and Kapri Doucet.
With Doucet, he evoked a high standard.
“He’s got a lot of Eric in him,” Stoops said describing Doucet’s playing style.
Of course, Stoops was talking about Eric Striker, who Doucet is directly replacing at SAM linebacker.
That was the second time that Stoops compared Doucet to Striker this preseason camp. From there, Stoops went on . . .
“His ability to make plays,” Stoops said. “Sometimes, they may be a little bit unorthodox, but he just has a knack for making plays and being in the right spot.”
It’s not just Doucet.
Beal has been the recipient of rave reviews as well. Both were pointed out as having “great instincts” by inside linebackers coach Tim Kish. Despite being just 211 pounds, Beal has moved inside and has played his way into the two-deep, likely sliding in behind Tay Evans.
Doucet is the probable starter at SAM linebacker when nickel back Will Johnson comes off the field for heavier situations. Both just have a natural ability to play in space.
“These guys are probably further along than anyone we’ve had,” Stoops said. “There’s an awful lot that we’ve thrown at them. We try to keep it simple as much as we can. We want them to play fast. That’s what those guys can do. They’re great athletes on their feet. We just want to make them comfortable in our defense so they can use those strengths of theirs to make plays.”
The two came together – as the ‘Looney Tunes’ – from Lackawanna (Penn.) College, known for their passing rushing ability as a pair. With Beal moved inside, yet playing in space, it’s primarily up to Doucet to carry that load. With the Sooners looking desperately for playmakers after having lost Striker, Charles Tapper and Devante Bond, Doucet has the ability to step into that role.
“Kapri has a lot of strengths,” Stoops said. “He’s a playmaker, but he has to learn to process things and play at a high level of speed that he’s gonna have to and play fast. He continues to show promise and needs to keep pushing himself to go further.”