NORMAN, Okla. — Redshirt freshmen Chris Messner has been the surprise of the Sooner preseason camp. Thought to be too small to really contribute this year, Messner has showed that his super athletic ability can make up for the fact he is only 278 pounds.
Messner put on 30 solid pounds in the offseason to get to 278 pounds, yet has kept his speed and quickness intact. The former high school quarterback is considered one of the best pure athletes on the team, and has moved into a virtual tie for the starting job at left tackle with two-year starter Wes Sims.
We caught up with Messner while he was munching on a piece of watermelon after Saturday's practice for the two minute drill.
JH: You have to be happy with preseason camp, because the Sooner coaches say you have been one of the best players in camp.
CM: Yeah, I sure am. I came into the camp with the mindset that I was going to work hard and that maybe down the road good things would pay off. As you can see lately, good things have been going my way. I am just going to continue to work hard every day and take advantage of the opportunities that I have."
JH: The OU coaches still want you to put on more weight. It must feel pretty good to eat anything you want anytime you want?
CM: "I seriously get sick of eating sometimes. This watermelon that I am eating right here is doing me some good. I am eating constantly and trying to put on some muscle. I am always eating, lifting and working hard on the field and I think everything is going to pay off."
JH: Did you have a concern that your body won't be able to hold or function well with an additional 30 pounds added during the offseason?
CM: "No, it is not a concern for me. I just have to get the weight on as fast as I can and in the best way that I can. As you can see there are some big boys that play division 1 football, and I have to get up there and become one of them."
JH: You can't push it though can you? You have to put the weight on the right way, don't you?
CM: "Yeah, that is correct. The thing about that thought is that they are constantly making the workouts to where we are constantly moving the same way before I put the weight on, so I maintain my speed and quickness. All the weight that I have put on so far is good weight."
JH: Coach Kevin Wilson says you have improved so much in camp that you will definitely play some this year and maybe even start, so you have to feel great about that.
CM: "Oh, I sure do and I do feel great about it. Like I said, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to the fullest. I came into the year just thinking I was going to travel and come into the games when we had a big lead. This camp has exceeded my expectations and that is a good thing. Now, I have new goals and I am very excited about the season ahead."
JH: You were a quarterback and a skill guy in high school, so what has been your biggest adjustment to playing offensive line at this level?
CM: "Pass sets are something that has taken a great deal of time to get used to. I never had to block like that before. I have always run and knocked people off the ball. I have never had to retreat and block somebody, so it is a lot different."
JH: You use to be the quarterback yelling at the offensive linemen to block somebody, but now that quarterback is yelling at you. Is that a strange feeling for you sometimes?
CM: Yeah, it sure is, but I know where the quarterback is coming from. I understand what they are saying and plus I know that the quarterbacks know what is going on. I listen to them and just try my hardest."
Two Minute Drill: Freshmen OL Chris Messner
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