Johnson's return bolsters receiver corp

Wide receiver coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the return of Manuel Johnson.

The Oklahoma receivers have become a strength of the Sooners offense, as three players have emerged to make big plays in different games this year. Sophomores Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson are all threats to go the house on each and every catch.

OU assistant coach Kevin Sumlin coaches this talent group and sat down with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill to talk about their progress.

JH: Against Texas, the mistakes kept the offense from having a great day didn't they?

KS: "You can't make mistakes like that, especially against a quality opponent. They put you behind the eight ball and create some problems. From that standpoint, as we watch tape the last couple of days with the players they see it. They see the things that we have to clean up as a team and individually guys have to clean up, especially the mistakes before the ball is snapped.

"They are putting themselves in situations where it is 2nd-and-15 or 3rd-and-12 instead of it being 3rd-and-5, but now it is 3rd-and-9. That creates extra pressure on the quarterback and the play-calling, and I think they saw that. With their comments today to the coaches I think it is pretty obvious that there are some things that we as coaches can do to clean some of that up."

JH: Was it great to get Manuel Johnson going?

KS: "Yeah, he has been coming on the last couple of weeks. He is finally healthy and he is a guy who can bring some athletic ability to the field. He has speed and quickness and he is a guy who brings some real talent to the table."

JH: Are you still working Reggie Smith on offense?

KS: "Yeah, we sure are. You could see Reggie this week on a few plays on offense. That may not happen now that we have Manuel back, but we still have a few things that we work Reggie into."

JH: Isn't Manuel one of the best pure athletes on the team?

KS: "Yeah, he is extremely athletic and he is good with the ball in his hands. Obviously, he showed that he is good and can make plays without the ball in his hands. Those were some critical third down plays that he made for us. He ran the reverse really into nothing and got nine-yards and he made several guys miss. He has a definite role on this team and we are glad to have him back.

"He didn't even dress for the first game and we took it easy bringing him back to make sure that he would be at full speed. A guy like that operates on his change of direction and his speed. He is ready to go and he is excited."

JH: Did this game prove that now your total unit is ready to go?

KS: "I think they have felt that before, but now we are at full strength with Manuel back. You have the three guys who starting the season this is where we wanted to be. While he has worked his way back it has given some of the younger guys a chance to practice, even though they have not played as much. It has also given them some valuable practice reps and they have been in some games. We are developing some depth and some competition in that room, and that is one of the reasons why Quentin Chaney was playing on Saturday. He has come out the last couple of weeks and practiced really well. He has worked at it and done what we have asked him to do.

"What we are going to do is there is enough competition in that room that if you are not going to come to work every day and do what you need to do, then you can stand over there and wave a towel and we will let somebody else get in. That is exactly what I told them. Quentin came on, practiced well and he did what he needed to do the last couple of weeks, and he was playing."

JH: Will Chaney stay in the rotation and continue to play?

KS: "That is correct. That is how it works? If he continues to practice well he will continue to see the field."

JH: You recruit down in the state of Texas, so win, lose or draw does the Texas game affect recruiting at all?

KS: "It is not that big a deal either way, but you can't ignore the fact that game does affect it some. I mean, the winner is the winner. The winner does get to brag about the fact they won, but I don't know if it actually sways a recruit one way or another. I think they are worried more about individual factors than who won the game."

JH: What about Iowa State and how they line-up in the secondary?

KS: "They are quite similar to last week. They are going to play some four-shell, two-safety looks and they are going to give us some single-safety coverage. They play very little man. They will blitz us a little bit, but not as much as some of the other teams that we have played. That has kind of been their M.O. They blitz about 15 to 20 percent of the time. They are going to make us do what we do and be patient and execute.

They are going to be soft and let us move the ball, but not let us get behind them. They will hope for us to make a mistake and try to hit us and get the ball loose. So it will be a challenge for us and we are going to try to come up and make some big plays. Against Nebraska, they kept everything in front of them except for one big play. Nebraska has some 8-, 9- and 12-play drives trying to score so we are going to have to execute this week. We are going to have to do things the right way."


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