Not a bad start to Big 12 conference action for Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook. The senior has 17 catches for 390 yards and five touchdowns in back-to-back victories for the Sooners.
He set numerous records Saturday in a 10-catch, 232-yards, three-touchdown outing in the 45-40 win against Texas and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Westbrook reflected back on that performance and what lies ahead the rest of the season for himself and the Sooners.
Different role this year?
It's grown pretty heavily. I have a different role on the team now. Just pretty much rise to the occasion, and make plays whenever they ask me to. I knew it was coming at some point in time. I just had to be able to embrace it whenever it came.
Knew you’d be healthy after bye week?
That was like the crazy part about it. Going into the bye week, of course, everyone knows I wasn't healthy at all. Not even a little bit. The bye week, we were off for, what, three or four days, and I really got that chance to just sit at home, watch TV and relax. Came back Monday to practice and really didn't feel much of anything. I told our team trainers and they were excited about the whole deal. They couldn't' believe it. But I guess it's showing now.
Frustrating first part of season, felt behind?
I wouldn't necessarily say I was that far behind. I just couldn't move the way I wanted to move without feeling sharp pains in my hamstring. Pulled muscles are always a problem. It always affects you. This is my first pulled muscle ever, so everyone I read up about having hamstrings or any type of groin problems, I feel for them. It's very annoying.
Mean anything more to have a huge game vs. Texas?
Yeah, that was a huge impact. I wasn't really expecting it. I know I'm a decent football player when it comes down to it, but as far as it being a rivalry game and me going crazy, that was pretty impressive.
Juco transition what you thought it would be?
It's been a serious process. At juco, I was a lot more talented than everyone else at the junior college level. That was the reason why I was so effective. Then to come over to Division-I football, everyone has the exact same mindset and talent that you have. Therefore, you have to work more on technique.
When did you injure hamstring?
I remember we were in the indoor facility the second day of camp. It was towards the late end of practice. They sent me on a vertical ball, and I knew for a fact I wasn't getting the ball because Jordan Thomas was at least 12 to 15 yards off me. Just trying to run by him, eat up his cushion and get by him, that caused me to strain my hamstring a little bit. I felt it immediately. I limped off the field. From that point, I knew it was bad. With the great trainers we have here, they stayed by my side, they kept me in the training room getting treatment.
What did you learn from Sterling Shepard?
Sterling, he was just a great player to begin with. Just a great player. Anything you ask him to do, he can do it. I'm out there in the huddle or different things of that nature, I think back on him and the great things that he did here. Me trying to follow in his footsteps. He was just perfect at everything. He took route running very seriously. Of course, when a ball was thrown his way, he was always going to make a play.
Mentor to the younger guys?
The relationship that I have with the younger guys, they can pretty much call me for anything, no matter what it is or where I'm at. Yeah, football matters, but outside of football is really the key part.