Sophomore running back Jacob Gutierrez has become one of the most popular players on the Sooners, despite the fact he has yet to play a significant snap in an Oklahoma uniform. One of the hardest workers on the team, Gutierrez is also one of the smallest, with David Robinson the only teammate shorter in stature than 'Gute'.
However, don't let his lack of height fool you, Gutierrez carries a muscular 181 pounds and he is one of the hardest workers on the team, and always one of the last players to leave the practice field. With Adrian Peterson being held out of most of the team work and Kejuan Jones out with a foot injury, Gutierrez is getting an opportunity in training camp to show the coaches and his teammates what he can do.
Despite being blessed with amazing moves that break can a defenders ankles, OUInsider.com was able to catch up with Gute after practice recently for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: You and Quentin Griffin are similar in so many ways. Of course, neither one of you are very tall and both of you run with amazing moves.
JG: "I think because of my height that does make our running styles similar. So in many ways, because of our height, the way we try to have success is similar. 'Q' had amazing moves and was a powerful runner, and I think I try to do the same things. He had great success here at Oklahoma and I am trying to get into a position where I can have the same kind of success."
JH: Do you feel you have done well enough in training camp to earn some playing time this year?
JG: "I hope so, but that is not for me to decide. We have a great coaching staff and they will make that decision come gametime. We have the Heisman runner-up (AD) on our side, so I will play whatever role the coaches want me to play."
JH: Do you always feel you have to prove yourself because of your height? That you always have to do something spectacular to get people's attention?
JG: "I don't think that it's just because of my height, but I have always felt that I have had to prove something. If I am going to do something, I want to do it at the best of my ability. I come to the conclusion that I have to take advantage of something that I have, which would be quickness or whatever. If you are going to do something, then do it right. I try to always work hard and that always drives me to do my best."
JH: 'Q' learned how to use his height to hide behind blockers, have you learned to do the same thing?
JG: "Oh definitely. I have been the same height for a while and I learned early in my career. I was real small in high school to, so you learn how to use it to your advantage. You learn how to use your blockers and disappear in that line real fast, making it hard for the defenders to locate you. I will use that to my advantage as long as I can."
JH: You did that on the screen pass on Saturday when you juked John Williams didn't you?
JG: "Definitely. On screens, I can find some linemen and hide among them and then make some moves."
JH: When you make one of those moves that gets your own teammates yelling and screaming, how does that make you feel?
JG: "It is a great feeling to know that your teammates have that kind of confidence in you. I feel good that some of my abilities give them some energy to feed off of, which helps them. To get that kind of feedback is great."
JH: Does it get frustrating to compete so hard, but then realize that AD and Kejuan, who have both performed so well at OU, are in front of you on the depth chart?
JG: "I think any team at this level, especially this good, you are going to have great players at every position. As an athlete out here, you need to take care of your business and do whatever you can to get that extra edge. That is why I always stay after practice and get extra work. It really isn't frustrating for me. It is an honor to be on the same team with AD and KeJuan, it is a good thing for us to have such great players at running back. Each player has to find his role on the team, and hopefully I can do that in training camp."
JH: It sounds like all of you on the team really pull for each other?
JG: "That is very true. We all try to have a positive attitude. Being negative is not going to help your teammates in any way. You see Kejuan on the sideline cheering us on and Adrian to, and we all know that being positive is the way to go. Many times it can fix things that need to be fixed. We are always doing things to help each other out."
JH: Do you feel like you are developing a role for this football team?
JG: "It is not for me to decide. We have a great coaching staff and they will determine come the season if I have a role on the field. If not, then I will keep on working for the next season."
JH: Where did you develop these great moves?
JG: "I have been playing ball for a long time and I have played a lot of street ball and stuff. A lot of it is just letting them come naturally playing ball, but a lot of it goes to our great strength and conditioning coaches. We work a lot in the off-season on changing direction — the ladder and feet agility and stuff. So that really helped out and stuff and I will continue to do that and get better at it."
JH: When you get the ball are you thinking about a particular move?
JG: "Not necessarily because you have to look where players are coming from and use their momentum against them. I try to get them to go one way and see if they can change direction with you as fast as you can.
Two Minute Drill: Jacob Gutierrez
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