NORMAN – On or off the field, defensive tackle Jordan Wade isn’t much for words. He saves them for an occasional joke on one of his teammates, but more often than not, he stays silent in the middle of the Oklahoma Sooners defensive line.
For only the second time since Oklahoma’s victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to end the 2013 season, Wade is getting the start this weekend against Houston in the season opener. As a redshirt freshman, Wade started eight games in place of injured star Jordan Phillips.
He made a name for himself with his play then, and now, his coaching staff is coming up with a few names and weird descriptions for the now-redshirt senior.
“He’s Mr. Reliable,” Oklahoma defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux said. “He doesn’t say a lot, but I really appreciate how hard he works and how durable he is. He doesn’t miss days. He doesn’t bust plays. He does a great job.”
“I kiddingly say something could go horrible wrong in that defensive meeting room, and it could somehow explode and one guy would walk out there unscathed and it would be Jordan Wade,” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said when asked about how Wade made it atop the depth chart at defensive tackle. “He’d walk out of there and say, ‘Hi coach. How ya doing?’”
“He’s quiet,” Oklahoma middle linebacker Jordan Evans said. “The only time he talks is when he tries to mess with me with jokes or acting like I didn’t give him a call. That’s the only time he talks. He’s a pretty quiet guy. He just does his job. He’s fine with that.”
Quiet is just part of who Wade is.
He’s worked as a starter before, so he said it’s something that feels good, but nothing new. When told about Stoops’ anecdote, Wade simply said, ‘It’s just me.’
He’s just about as unshakable as it gets. Wade’s only focus is doing his job, something his worked at over the last few years by focusing on coming off the ball fast and shedding blockers to make plays.
“I just want to do all the right things,” Wade said. “I don’t want to panic or anything when I find something out. I just want to act like nothing happened.”
Simply put, Wade just keeps it simple. It’s put him back at the top of the depth chart, at least for the time being while last year’s starter Matt Romar misses time with a concussion.
“I always want to go in there and do my job, just do it the right way and not mess up,” Wade said.