Former Northwestern offensive line coach James Patton is the latest assistant coach to join Bob Stoops' staff at OU. Patton replaces former wide receiver coach Darrell Wyatt, who recently accepted a job with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL as their wide receiver coach.
Patton will take over the offensive line at OU as offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson moves to tight ends/fullbacks and former tight end/fullback coach Kevin Sumlin shifts to wide receivers.
Tuesday morning on Sports Morning on WWLS Radio, Coach Patton talked to Bob Barry Jr. and I about joining the OU staff.
JH: Congratulations on your new gig at Oklahoma.
JP: "I appreciate it. I am very excited about the opportunity and obviously the national championship tradition here at Oklahoma. I am really looking forward to the great challenge and working with one of the best head coaches in the country in Bob Stoops."
BBJ: I know Coach (Kevin) Wilson is very high on you, basically moving to coach another position, so that you can come in and coach the offensive line. It has to be a great thing for you to have that great connection with Kevin Wilson?
JP: "That's right. Kevin Wilson and I have a great relationship in terms of working together and the things that we have done. I know where Kevin is coming from as a former line coach and obviously being coordinator now. I know what to expect from him so I am really looking forward to it."
JH: Coach Stoops has mentioned before that he is very impressed with what is going on at Northwestern offensively. Wouldn't you say that you did have some great success at Northwestern moving the football?
JP: "Yeah, we certainly have. I think we finished fourth this year in total offense at 500 yards per game. We ran the ball pretty effectively, as I think we finished 26th nationally in terms of rushing. We really have done a pretty good job in a good league (Big 10) and we have had some great players. It all starts up front on offense, and we have to get our jobs done up front so that the guys behind us can do there's."
BBJ: You know that with the offensive line here at Oklahoma that they graduated a lot of players and they have some holes right now in the line. So that has to be a challenge for you coming in?
JP: "Now that I am beginning to look at it I know that four seniors graduated, but I know that we will have some guys here in the program that can play. I am anxious to meet those kids, watch them workout and watch them do the things that makes them a better player leading up to spring ball. I also know that we are going to have five guys out there, the five best blockers, and they are going to play real hard and they are going to do their jobs up front. I am really looking forward to that great challenge, and that is part of coaching the offensive line. We have to get our jobs done up front."
JH: We know that you have a long working relationship with Coach (Kevin) Wilson, and it obvious that he means a great deal to you?
JP: "Yeah, Kevin and I do have a great relationship. I played at Miami of Ohio when he coached the offensive line there and was the offensive coordinator. I played tight end, but he always reminded me that I was the tight tackle. I maybe caught a couple balls in my career, and other than that I was just in a blocking situation. Then I worked for him as a graduate assistant working with the offensive line, and I also had a chance to work with him at Northwestern."
BBJ: The transformation of offensive lineman is fascinating to me because it was too long ago that you would see these big old guys who were fat. But now these guys are in great shape who are 300 pounds plus but have a 32-inch waist. Isn't it amazing how strength and conditioning has changed the appearance of offensive linemen?
JP: "Sure, it really has. I like big guys and this is a big guy conference, but guys have to be able to move too. They have to have great feet and athleticism, but it is great to coach those big guys. They are going to be the first one's there and the last one's to leave. They don't get a whole lot of credit and they don't get their picture in the paper. And they don't get to touch the ball too often. However, they are going to take pride in what they do and that is what I enjoy about coaching offensive linemen."
JH: Haven't times changed for offensive linemen somewhat? It seems they are getting paid more now in the NFL and it seems they are getting more notoriety today than ever before?
JP: "I think that is right. I can see it changing that way, but again I think our guys are going to know what they need to do. They are going to have a great plan and they are going to take pride in blocking for those guys."
BBJ: Did you take any guys from the D-line and mike good offensive linemen out of them at Northwestern? Oklahoma certainly has done that on several occasions here?
JP: "We did. Just this past season we moved a defensive lineman over in the spring and he was our starting right guard. He played about 900 and something snaps for us and he has a chance to be a great player next year. Also, a kid who was a third round pick for us to the Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Steelers, by the name of Trey Essex, was a big tight end at one time in his career. Then he moved to defensive end before starting 12 games as sophomore at left tackle. We are going to recruit the best players and put the best blockers on the field."
JH: You come into an offensive team that is very talented with Adrian Peterson at running back, Rhett Bomar at quarterback and an outstanding young wide receiver group. Your offensive line certainly has some talented skill players to block for.
JP: "That is going to be our motivation and our drive to play physical. We are going to pass block and run block and do the things that we need to do up front to give those guys a chance, to get those guys on the edge at receiver, and obviously Adrian and Rhett to do there jobs."
BBJ: Since you have worked with Kevin Wilson before, what kind of offensive coordinator do you think he will be?
JP: "I am sure Kevin will keep the schemes that they have been doing. I know that he is going to attack and that he wants to be in an attacking offense. He wants to force the issue and he certainly will be creative. Kevin has a great mind. He has a photographic memory as he remembers everything. His attitude and things he takes to the offense, I think, will be very productive."
Patton excited about his opportunity at OU
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