Just a redshirt sophomore, but the sky seems to be the limit for OU defensive lineman Neville Gallimore. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, you listen.
Gallimore wasn’t afraid to share his thoughts about OU’s defensive line going through spring practice.
The move to 4-3?
It’s what you want as a defensive line. We have a lot of guys that are quick, fast, able to get off the ball. Having this 4-3 is really going to let us show that. Like you said, it’s going to be an adjustment. It’s going to take some time. I believe we’re progressing. Once we get comfortable to playing this formation, I believe we’re going to be really good.
Vocal leader of the defensive line?
Matt Romar. And really, again, the thing that is unique about this group is it’s a great combination of guys. You have guys that lead by example and then you have guys that are vocal. Me, being here, it’s definitely time for me to step up. I’ve had some playing experience. I’m slowly understanding it’s my time to step up and be a leader and be more vocal and lead by example. I shouldn’t be looking toward other guys. It’s time for them to be looking to me. We’re going to get there. I believe that. I have just as much as confidence in myself as I do with the other guys. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I love this team. I love this defensive line. Again, I know we don’t have a lot of numbers, but it’s just going to make us stronger. The expectation doesn’t change.
Difference in physicality in spring?
Definitely. It’s picked up. I’m happy to be a part of this group. Even looking at the offensive side of the ball and going against the o-linemen, everybody is getting stronger. You can see that everybody is working. Continue to go and attack. We’re all in it for the same reason. We all have the same goals, same dreams. We’re here to play for Oklahoma to do our best to help the team out. It’s good to go against that offensive line because everybody is getting stronger. I couldn’t tell you a weak link on that side of the ball. Everybody is working and it just causes us to push harder with the numbers we have.
Offensive line is so good. That has to be pushing you guys?
Yes, because again, not only are you dealing with the physicality, just the mentality. Guys are experienced. They’ve played in games. They know what it’s like. They’ve played in the heat of the moment. It’s not always about who’s the strongest. It’s just whose mentality is right, who is going to outsmart somebody. It adds a lot of mental thinking to the game, and that’s what football is all about. Not about who can jump the highest, lift the most, run the fastest, it’s about who’s the smartest. Who can look at the little things and make plays and make adjustments. Having that o-line to go up against, just to look at little tendencies and for us to make adjustments on the field to our pass rush or play our gaps, it helps.
How is Thibodeaux in his second year?
Not every day you find a coach who is passionate about his guys. Coach Thibs is a great coach and works with what he has. Now that we’ve had one year under our belt, we know what to expect. He’s going to give us his best every single time. In the film room, he wants the best for us. It’s hard to find that nowadays. He’s a coach that really loves his guys and will do any and everything to fix the little things. He just wants us to be successful. It’s up to us as we continue to grow, to be successful. Here last year, always tough when you have a new coach, but it’s different now. He’s grown, and we’ve grown with him. It’s an opportunity to see someone who has played at the University of Oklahoma and had a lot of success. One thing to have a coach who can coach you up, but it’s another to have one who has been through the grind and put up the numbers he had and played for the University of Oklahoma, you really don’t get that so it’s really the best of both worlds.
When did you realize Thibodeaux was a caring coach?
It always comes down when you’re at your worst. Every athlete has that time, not necessarily when you doubt yourself, but you know when it’s been a little bit harder than most days. Just to know you have a coach who is there that wants to help you, wants to build you and sees so much in you. The expectation, the demand in quality work and perfection. It’s a must with him. He takes pride in us. He takes pride in every little step we take. He just wants us to be great. Not doing it for himself, doing it for us. He’s making a lot of sacrifices for us. We just have to keep pushing and come on with it.