Wright excited about Clayton's future

Oklahoma secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright talks about the Sooners' defensive backs and the emergence of redshirt freshman Kennan Clayton (pictured) at strong safety. (Photo/Lisa Hall)

Oklahoma goes into the 2006 season with the firm conviction that they are going to be very good in the secondary. OU co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright has done a great job of molding the secondary into one of the best in the Big 12 Conference.

The second half of last season, the secondary showed great promise and then in the spring with the moves of Reggie Smith from safety to corner and Lendy Holmes from wide receiver to corner, and the insertion of redshirt freshman Keenan Clayton at strong safety, the Sooners are all of the sudden deep and talented in the secondary.

Earlier this week, coach Wright stopped by to chat with the media and spent a few minutes with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: You made Keenan Clayton your starter at strong safety the first day of camp and that has not changed. What makes Clayton such a super prospect for you?

BJW: "He is big, strong and fast and he can jump over this building. Those are his strengths. He is a tremendously athletic guy, and he is a bigger guy who is a strong person with really good speed. For his size, he has incredible speed and he has great closing speed. He has great range and he will hit you. He is a load at 225 pounds. When he hits you then you are going to be stuck."

JH: Keenan's goal is to be the next Roy Williams. Does he have the ability to be that kind of player?

BJW: "If he said that then I hope he can follow up on it. I hope he becomes that kind of player, because he is capable. We will find out on Saturday, because he has not done it yet in a game. But, yes, he is capable of being one of those guys at the safety position that when you come over the middle if he hits you it is liable to be painful."

JH: How do you feel about your starting cornerbacks?

BJW: "I feel really good with D.J. (Wolfe) and Reggie (Smith) at corner. I think they are really good. Both of them have opportunities to be outstanding corners, not only within our team but in the Big 12 Conference and college football. Both of those guys are talented and they have a lot of experience even after only playing one year. Both of them have 12 games under their belt and they have had some success. You can see the confidence in them on the practice field, and they make very few busts. They have a chance to be really good players.

"We feel very strongly about both of those guys, whether it be in zone, man or our zone-blitz packages. They understand all those things well. They have great awareness on the field, they understand where they are getting attacked and how offenses try to attack. They understand the different coverages that we are in and what their weaknesses are and where the strengths are. So they have a lot better understanding than they had a year ago.

"Behind them we have some good back-up guys in Lendy Holmes. His move to corner has been a very positive move for our football team. Marcus Walker coming back after surgery again gives us some good quality depth at the corner position. Brian Jackson is another guy who I think has a chance to be a good player for us one day. He is coming back off an injury (knee) and he still has a little ways to go before he builds up all his confidence.

"All of those guys I think have a really good chance to be good players for us. So not only do I think we have good front-line players at corner, I think we have some really solid back-ups to put in there as well."

JH: Are you free safeties having a good camp?

BJW: "I really like where Darien (Williams) is at. I think he has improved himself and put himself in a position to be a real good player. He understands things and he is learning a lot quicker than he has in the past. He has very few busts any more in practice and I really like where he is.

I like Quentin Carter, but he is a young guy. We forget that he is just a freshman because he came in last spring. He is just a freshman and he has hardly any experience under his belt under the 15 spring practices. However, I can see enough in him to know that he is going to be a good player for us."

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