OU assistant coach Kevin Sumlin now wears a number of different hats within the coaching staff as OU's tight ends, fullbacks and special teams coach. Earlier this week, we talked to him about the state of his positions.
JH: When you started training camp you were still looking for a backup fullback. As you enter your final week of training camp, how is that search coming?
KS: "It is coming along good. Russell Dennison has done some good things and we have been pleasantly surprised here lately by Dane Zaslaw, who has started to come on and pick things up. I think there is a period of time after a knee injury, and in his case two knee injuries, where it is just a mental deal for him. He doesn't know when he can cut it loose, but in the last 10 days he has really started to come on.
"Then Matt Clapp has been coming along too. We feel a lot better today than before training camp started. I feel like Clapp will continue to develop and Russell is a great athlete, who has become a real good special teams player. With Dane Zaslaw coming on right now, and he continues to improve, I think we have tremendous depth at the position."
JH: Have you decided to play Clapp or is that a decision that you are still trying to make?
KS: "Well, he is a big body that can run and do some things and right now we are approaching it like he is going to play. He is involved in special teams and he getting turns with the ones and twos. So, right now, today, that is kind of the plan. If something was to change in the next week or two I would be surprised, but right now that is the plan."
JH: At tight end things are going well, but what are your thoughts on freshman Aaron Cummings?
KS: "Yeah, Aaron Cummings has come in and been a pleasant surprise. He has really good hands and he runs real well. I think what people have to look at with him is that he is 240 pounds right now, and none of the guys — Bubba (Moses), Willie (Roberts) or Joe Jon (Finley) — were 240 pounds when they got here. They were all 220, and Joe Jon was 212, so the kid comes in here at 240, runs well and does some good things.
"We have used him quite a bit in two tight end sets this spring and Bubba and Joe Jon have done really well. Then Willie has done really well in the scrimmages, so we are pleased with their progress, and hopefully we can bring Aaron along. I think he is going to try to learn the system and get bigger and stronger, but we look for him to get some time later on."
JH: This spring the tight ends have been catching most of the touchdowns passes and have been very involved with the offense, haven't they?
KS: "Yeah, that is kind of the way it is right now. We are a little young at wide receiver, but that gives our older guys more of a chance. We flex Joe Jon out put more pressure on him and he has responded well. If we can continue to do that with Joe Jon and Willie, and if Bubba continues to be a real force in the box blocking and catching some play-action, I think we can be real effective."
JH: Have you made up your mind on special teams returners?
KS: "No, we still have some time there as we are real talented. Jejuan Rankins has been around and so has Travis (Wilson). I think some people tend to lump guys together, when in reality some guys catch punts better and some guys catch kick-offs better. Some can't catch the other. Travis Wilson is a better kick-off return guy and Jejuan Rankins can do both, but there are some young guys in the mix. Lendy Holmes has really started to come back and Reggie Smith and a couple of these new guys will figure into it too. We will get that figured out probably in the next week or so."
Two Minute Drill: Kevin Sumlin
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