OU Head Coach Bob Stoops has often stated the summer is the very most important time for the development of the Sooner football team. One of Stoops first hires was strength and conditioning Coach Jerry Schmidt to head his summer program. Stoops admits that in the summer Schmidt is basically in charge of the football team and that the team has to answer to him.
As the Sooners get ready to embark on another set of two-a-days, Schmidt goes over his thoughts on the Sooners progress this past summer.
JH: How do you feel things went for this summer?
JS: We went through an eight week program and we really feel good about it. I have been in this for a while and I can honestly say that at this point I feel we have done things that we need to do at this point. You have to have a great summer to put yourselves in a position to have great two-a-days. Normally I am on edge at this time, but I just feel really good about going into this season with guys like Jason White, Tommie Harris and guys who have put in their commitment and their time. They have done a great job.
JH: Tommie Harris is on the cover of Sports Illustrated and he told me recently that he is close to a 500-pound bench press. Is that true?
JS: He is close to it. Tommie came into Oklahoma benching about 430 and he had great talent coming in. We just wanted him to do a better job of handling volume in the heat and being able to run. He runs a high 4.6, but we want him to be able to do that play after play when it is 95 to 100 degrees. Tommie has done a good job getting in shape to handle that. Tommie can do pretty much wants to do and he has really made a commitment. Sometimes guys will settle for what they have already done, but he has stepped it up and done a great job.
JH: So, are we talking 500 pound benches for guys like Tommie, Wes Sims and Dusty Dvoracek?
JS: Yeah, you are dealing with those kinds of numbers with Tommie and Wes. Dusty is not quite at that level because he is a little bit leaner at 279 pounds. Wes and Tommie are always going to compete and right now they are up around the 480 and 490-pound mark on the bench. You just can't stop with those guys. Guys like Kory Klein are guys who have been here and we say guys who have built this program. They have really improved themselves and are putting up great numbers now.
JH: People don't understand how hard and how strong Kory Klein is do they?
JS: Kory is about 273 to 275 and he can bench 410 to 420 and squat anywhere from 670 to 690. He is just real steady and is a real quiet leader for us. We don't know who our captains are yet, but I would say that Kory will be up there in our voting. He is a guy that is well respected and has won a lot of football games for OU.
JH: When you get new defensive or offensive lineman in the program do you have them tag along with a guy like Klein to learn how things are done within the program?
JS: Yes, Kory is the kind of guy that within the classroom or in just everyday life is going to do the right thing. He has a great feel for the game and you want your younger guys to watch him closely. He is going to teach them what to do and what not do to, and he has good football sense. You can't get enough guys like Kory Klein.
JH: Will the fact that Harris is on the cover of Sports Illustrated be a big benefit for the program?
JS: I hope it looked good, because I haven't seen the cover yet. I think it is good for Tommie and it has to be good for the whole football team. Sometimes you worry about that kind of stuff, but I think the guys have done a good job through the summer working their tail off. This is just another step. Now we need to go into two-a-days and keep building the football team and pushing to get better.
JH: What kind of summer did Jason White have?
JS: He had the best summer he has every had. I wish our whole football team was like him as far as work habits. If they did work like him I could just show up at the facility and open up the front door and then go water-skiing the rest of the day. I could come back at the end of the day and lock it up. I wouldn't have to worry about anybody as far as what kind of intensity they are going.
Jason is a guy who doesn't leave any stones unturned and I think he is in the best shape of his life. He is 11 pounds lighter than he was at this time last year. I think that is going to help him move in the pocket. He is just in the best overall shape of his life. Jason will be there. He is a gamer and he will be ready to play.
JH: What kind of runner is White at this point?
JS: Jason is a high 4.7 guy and he runs pretty well. Jason has game speed in that he runs in pads at his fastest level. Remember against Texas he got out of the pocket and ran for a first down on a couple of occasions. Jason does whatever it takes to get a first down, whatever it takes to move the chains. In football, Jason is going to the job done for you.
JH: Is Jason at 210 now?
JS: Jason is about 213 right now. He was at a little over 220 last year, but this is about right as he looks great, is in great shape and is really fit.
JH: Your offensive linemen always have great summers in the weight room. Who stood out in this area?
JS: We have already talked about Wes and he had a great summer. He is at 316 pounds and is lean. He is a fit guy and carries it. His upper body is just so big and hopefully Coach Wilson is really going to help him with his technique.
Jammal Brown is a guy who has really had a great summer. He stays around 298 to 300 pounds and we want to keep him right there. Jammal has really come on at offensive tackle, so we are pretty solid at tackle.
Mike Skinner has had the best summer in the offensive line. Here is a guy who has won a national championship in 2000 and yet he keeps striving for more. Mike is a great leader for the guys and does a great job. He has really worked well and has his body weight down to 290. You will see a leaner Mike Skinner, which will help him. Our younger guys have stepped up and put weight on.
Vince Carter is at 286 pounds and Kelvin Chaisson is 290. Those guys have done a great job and they are poised to have good two-a-days.
JH: It doesn't seem that you want 320 pound linemen anymore do you?
JS: With some guys they naturally can carry 320 pounds. Wes is a perfect example of a guy who weighs 316 and he looks good. I think your linemen need to stay around 300. There are going to be guys that have the frame for it and can carry it and we are fine with that. However, we want guys that are fit in the fourth quarter, and who will sit in there and punch, move their feet and do a great job.
JH: Being able to move is the key isn't it? You spend a lot of time in the spring on agility drills don't you?
JS: I think your footwork is a key to playing football. You have to develop good footwork no matter what position you play. If you are an offensive lineman or a DB good footwork is a must to be a good player. That is where it starts. You have to have a fast football team. We always want to be able to run and after we get there we need to have the ability to strike you and really be physical. I think you will see some really good things because of the summer we had.
JH: Did "Q' have another great summer?
JS: Yeah, he is always steady. We go back and talk at this time every year and we always talking about "Q' aren't we? He is always going above and beyond to get himself better because he is just paranoid that he is not good enough and I think that is good for him. It is good for a player to always kind of be scared a little bit, but he always puts himself in a situation where is he going to be in a great shape.
JH: Did ‘Q' test out well for you again?
JS: Yeah, he is a guy that is always going to test out at over 400 pounds on bench and this summer he stayed at 405 to 410, which is really good for his size. He is a guy that always works on his lateral movement and we all know what kind of great cuts that he have. Quentin is always working to get quicker and his footwork quicker. ‘Q' is special and I wish all of our guys worked like him. You have to run him out of the weight room and tell him it is time to leave. His best time in the forty was 4.46 and he runs that steady.
JH: Who posted your fastest time this summer?
JS: Antonio Perkins is always going to run a 4.3 or 4.38. Michael Hawkins ran a 4.37 and has been amazing. We just have to put some weight on him. Michael weighs 163 to 164, which is a little light coming in, but he will put some size on here. He will start eating with these other guys and get on a supplement program and put some size on.
JH: How about the progress of Eric Bassey this summer?
JS: Bassey did a good job this summer. We had a hard time getting him out of the 180's, but now he is at 197 and he is still a 4.3 guy. He ran a 4.35 or 4.37 and ran right up there with Antonio Perkins. Bassey is a guy who continues to work on changing direction as he added size. Now we will just see if he can carry the weight effectively.
JH: You have to make sure he can carry the weight?
JS: We will watch and see how he reacts in space and see if he can carry it well in the heat. He should be fine, because he has been working in the heat all summer. However, we want him to keep his appetite up, because we want him to keep his weight up. We need him to be physical like Roy was last year. I think Eric is going to be fine and we will see some good things out of him.
JH: Talk about couple of guys who needed to gain some weight or lose some weight, and how that turned out?
JS: Start with Jimmy Wilkerson. Here is a guy who came back this summer weighing 268 and he played in the spring at 265. We thought that Jimmy needed to be a little bit lighter so he is at 255 pounds. Jimmy is an explosive athlete with good strength and he has worked on his strength this summer. We are real happy with his progress and Jimmy has done a great job this summer.
Jonathan Jackson has always been staying around the 230 mark and now he is at 238 to 239 now and he has gotten stronger.
Clint Ingram has improved his weight to 232 as he finally put on some weight the last month. We would like for him to be a little bit heavier, but since he has gone home for a few days maybe he went home and got some great home cooking. Clint has done a good job as far as his running. He has become a better football player and I wish everybody worked as hard on their running and agility as Clint.
JH: What about the progress of Michael Thompson?
JS: I was a little concerned for Michael going into July, but Michael finished the summer by doing a good job. I think he has put himself in a good position. He has done some extra things to improve his ankle flexibility and I think you are going to see some good things from Michael. He has to go through two-a-days, but I think his body will handle that well because he has had a good summer. Michael weighs about 187 and before he had his accident he was at 193, He is pretty close to getting his weight back to where it was. I would like to get him to 190, but he is pretty close. He is running in the 4.5 range and I think people are going to be happy with how his plays during two-a-days.
JH: How about Terrance Simms?
JH: He had the knee and I feel good about it. He has come in a couple of times a day trying to get the knee better. Terrance is a great, great person with good work habits and I wish him well. I think he is going to do well and I feel he is going to help this football team.
One-on-One with Jerry Schmidt
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