Kelly looking to avoid sophomore slump

Sooner receiver Malcolm Kelly talks Paul Thompson, Reggie Smith and hopes for 2006.

In his first year as a Sooner, Malcolm Kelly stepped up and established himself as the go-to receiver hauling in 33 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns. The OU coaches expect even bigger things from the Longview, Texas native this year, and so does Kelly. Many in the media believe that Kelly is the best wide receiver in the conference and Kelly is out to prove that this year.

Coaches say that a player improves the most from his freshman to sophomore year. And if that comes true with Kelly, then the Sooners can expect the 6-foot-4, 214-pound receiver to become one of the best in the country. Kelly is always frank with the media when talking to him, and he was just that recently when he sat down with for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: What do you think about Reggie Smith joining you at wide receiver?

MK: "We don't have to worry about him. He is just that good of an athlete. He is just as good at receiver as he is at DB. It just seems that every position is just so natural for him."

JH: Why do you really think that Reggie can go both ways?

MK: "It is just athletic ability. He is just a great overall athlete. I think if you put him at any position and let him study that position for a few days, he could be pretty good at it. He is easily the best athlete on the team."

JH: He is better than AD?

MK: "AD is good at running back, but I don't know if he would be good at cornerback. That is what I am saying, you couldn't put AD at cornerback. When I say athlete, an athlete can cover the receivers, be a receiver, you can run the ball and you can throw it. Reggie can throw the ball. He played quarterback in high school. He can do it all."

JH: We know that Reggie can attempt to cover you and have a chance, but could you cover him and have a chance?

MK: "No. There is no way. If you put me at DB I would fall all over my feet. I couldn't do it at all."

JH: This whole training camp the receiving group has been searching to become a corps. Has this been a successful camp?

MK: "I really don't think that coach Sumlin is totally pleased with the receivers right now. We do have bright spots, but then we have days when some people go out there and don't know what they are doing. Coach Sumlin always preaches consistency, and that is what we need. We need to be consistent, but we are not there right now. We still have a ways to go before we are a consistent."

JH: Has it been a great camp for you individually?

MK: "Yeah, I can say. I think, personally, when I went into camp I told myself that I was going to have a different mindset and that I was going to go in and try to dominate and step my game up. And I believe that I did this camp."

JH: You kept your hamstring healthy this year, didn't you?

MK: "Yeah I did, man. That was a real hurdle last year. Just to get in there and get two or three days and then sit out really hurt me. This year I got to go through all of two-a-days and all through everything, so I am ready to go."

JH: Have you grown as a receiver?

MK: "Oh yeah, because I am doing the same thing every single day. You see the same coverages every single day, so you know how to work leverage and run your routes right. That is the biggest thing for me — to run my routes. I can jump up and catch a ball, but I still have to get open."

JH: Are you expecting to have a big year?

MK: "Yeah, I am. I really don't like to think about it a whole lot, but I think if I put my mind to it then I can have a pretty good year."

JH: Does it make you nervous when you play just one season and people are already saying you are the best receiver in the conference?

MK: "I don't know if I am nervous all the time, but I don't think I am that good. I am confident in my ability, but at the same time I never want to look at myself as a guy who has made it. I don't want to say, 'OK I am good now.' As soon as I start thinking that then that is when it is all going to fall out. I never think I am good enough, I just keep pushing myself to get better and better."

JH: Is getting to the Big 12 championship or National Championship game possible this year?

MK: "I believe that we can be a championship team. If we go game-by-game, gameplan and then practice hard we have the talent on both sides of the ball to win."

JH: Talk about the relationship that the receivers have developed with Paul Thompson?

MK: "I was talking to Paul the other day and I asked him if he was he ready. And he just said he was ready to get out there and get it going. Once you get out there and throw that first pass, you get that first catch in and then it is just rolling. As far as practicing and how everything has been going, we have been getting our timing down right. He has been putting the balls on point so I am just ready for Saturday for it all to come together."

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