NORMAN, Okla. – Yes, Chijioke Onyenegecha finally put on a uniform today. Despite being only 75 percent as he recovers from a hamstring injury, he went through team drills at cornerback.
Chijioke is 6-2 and he is playing at 203 pounds. He showed great quickness today and does look like an incredible athlete. Sporting the braids in his hair that is making him famous, I was glad to finally meet Chijioke today in person for the OUInsider Two Minute Drill.
JH: How did workouts go for you today?
CO: "It went fine. It was great to get out and work up a good sweat. Practice is different here in that it is a little faster and I am going against better receivers here. Plus, I am not full speed, so I have to work twice as hard to compete and learn the system."
JH: You say you are not full speed, so what percentage are you?
CO: "I am probably at 75 percent."
JH: You can cover the short routes and play the short game, but if a receiver tries to take you deep and you have to let him go?
CO: "I can't really just open up like I want to right now and accelerate. If I warm up real well I can roll a little bit right now, but not at full speed. I don't have all the gears that I need for a real game."
JH: When do you think you will be back at full speed?
CO: "Probably this summer."
JH: Are you surprised that you are even going through these drills?
CO: "Yeah, I was just letting my body flow and it started to feel good at the end. When I started to run around and warm up a little bit I really didn't feel any pain in my hamstring. I was just trying to be a normal player and tried not to think about my hamstring. If I don't think about it then I can play better."
JH: Is the mental part of dealing with the injury the toughest part?
CO: "Yes, the mental part is tough because if you think about it too much then you favor it. When I just play I try to be natural on it and then I play as if it is not even injured. That is what I plan on doing as much as I can."
JH: When you tug at it or rub it during practice that is just a habit and it is not really hurting you?
CO: "When I first started off it was a little tight, but once it loosened up I was back to normal and not limping."
JH: You told me that your defense at SFCC was similar to the one here at OU. Do you still feel that is true?"
CO: "It is basically the same, but just different language. I understand cover two and cover three, because we ran that all the time at SFCC. Coach Pelini is teaching me all the other stuff and basically that is just learning the language and calls. It is pretty simple."
JH: Are you happy you to be back on the field after your injury?
CO: "I am very happy. I was just sitting around trying to work out, eating and watching TV. I am very happy to be here and very happy to be on the field again."
JH: What did you think of your first day of spring?
CO: "This is the first time that I have seen fans and media like this. Normally in San Francisco we have windy weather and just practice through it and practice in front of nobody. So, it is different, but I am just concentrating on football."
JH: You came from the best junior college program in the country, so does it compare at OU to one of the best D1 programs in the country?
CO: "The facilities are a major upgrade here, but that is to be expected. There is more pressure here, because you are on TV all the time, even at practice. At junior college you are not so much on TV and there is not as much pressure there. The fan support here puts a little more pressure on you. I was groomed a lot at junior college and I think I have prepared myself well for what I will go through here."
Two Minute Drill: Chijioke Onyenegecha
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