Hard to believe, but Oklahoma safety Kahlil Haughton is already going to be a junior. Time goes fast even if it feels like Haughton’s career hasn’t.
Waiting in the wings is tough, but Haughton has done it the last two seasons. Ahmad Thomas is gone. Steven Parker is out for spring practice as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
The time for Haughton, Will Sunderland, well, it’s now.
How important is this spring?
The opportunity is big. I mean, this is the time where I can really take advantage. I’m taking all the reps at one. Steven’s not here, Ahmad just left, so this is the best time for me to showcase my talents. I’m thankful for it. Got to make the most of it.
Has it been tough to wait your turn when so much expected of 2015 safety class?
Yeah, we haven’t had a lot of time to shine, so this is the time to showcase our talent. We get all the reps, really get the experience that we need. This is really what it’s all built up to. This is the opportunity, this is the time, so if we don’t, that’s just on us.
Biggest difference you’ve seen in the last year compared to high school?
So much more. There’s splits, there’s formations, there’s so many different things. So many different packages, responsibilities. It can be tough, but you just got to put in the hours and it’ll make it a lot easier. That’s definitely the easiest part. Once you learn it, you get the experience and it just gets easier from there.
Your biggest focus going forward?
Just playing man. That’s not something I always did in high school, so just getting a chance to do it in one-on-ones every day, getting the reps, playing man, that’s something, just learning the formations, having the time to really dissect each formation and tell in between splits what they’re probably gonna run.
The one thing you’re still really working on?
One thing I really want to work on is my physicality. Being able to match up with slot receivers and tight ends. I want to be able to do both. I also want to have the versatility to be able to play pass or make that run fit, so that’s something I’ve really been trying to work on this spring and hopefully leading up to next season.
Explain more about the physical mindset
It’s just having a tougher mentality. Tight ends can be tougher to get hands on, but that’s something you really got to do as a safety, so that’s something I’m trying to work on, that and being able to be that run fitter. So that’s mainly where I’m trying to get my game at right now.
Why this year the secondary is going to make more plays?
We go to meetings, we walk in, we have so many charts about who’s making plays, who’s not making plays, who’s loafing. Right now, if you loaf, that’s on the whole team. So once we all get together and we’re all playing at a high speed, that’s when it’s gonna show.
Why this year’s secondary is going to be improved from last year?
I think it’s just having that brotherhood and being able to communicate better. We had a lot of missing pieces last year, so this year once we get them all together we’ll be able to play as unit.
Impressions of young cornerbacks?
Justin Broiles, he’s really getting out there, getting aggressive, getting in their faces and really just being the type of player you want, kind of like a Deion Sanders –type guy. Parnell Motley, he’s making a ton of plays right now. That’s something we definitely expected big of him. That’s something, it kind of takes a lot of time, but he’s definitely caught on pretty quick.