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Oklahoma Sooners look to more vocal leadership heading into Big 12 play

Leading by example might not be enough for OU

NORMAN – Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops doesn't feel good about any part of his team right now, sitting with two losses through the first three games of the season. Stoops made that very clear Monday afternoon as Oklahoma turns its focus to the Big 12 Conference schedule

He isn’t expected to be happy about starting a once-promising season with a 1-2 record with a possibility of a third – and maybe fourth – loss in the next two weeks. But Oklahoma’s flaw might be as much in the locker room as it is on the field.

“There are off-the-field things that are bothering people,” Oklahoma safety Ahmad Thomas said. “Knowing that, you respect them even more because you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life.”

Oklahoma held a players-only meeting during the bye week, and Thomas, who is one of four captains, said that he felt good about it and that it was a way to discuss the things “we need to fix.”

The leadership group likely has to be the first to make a positive change.

“Those leaders just have to step up, be more vocal,” Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews said. “Lead by example is something that we’re trying to do each and every day. We’ll come out there and practice our hardest like it’s a game, just to show those young guys what it takes to win. It’s just being there every day, focused in and really locked in on everything we’re doing.”

Along with Thomas, quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Samaje Perine and linebacker Jordan Evans were all voted as captains on the team. Only Mayfield is known for having an extremely outgoing and vocal personality. It’s a stark change from last year with Eric Striker and Ty Darlington serving as captains, with players like Zack Sanchez and Charles Tapper taking on a leadership role.

“It’s different because when we had Strike and Tap, we were able to lead by example,” Thomas said. “It’s pretty hard to change yourself like that. It’s hard to replace someone like Strike from a vocal perspective. We just have to learn how to be more vocal. I’ve taught myself how to do that. It makes the game more fun. I try to get everyone into that. But sometimes you can’t get people to do things like because they’re not that type of person.”


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