One of the big moves that helped the Oklahoma defense become one of the top units in college football in 2006, was sophomore Lendy Holmes from wide receiver to cornerback.
When Holmes was signed to play at Oklahoma he was considered a future star out of high school. But he never caught the ball consistent enough, and when he struggled catching the ball on punt returns as well it become apparent that Holmes wouldn't be in the spotlight at wide receiver for much longer.
In the spring, Holmes asked and was given permission to move to corner and he became an immediate factor at the position. Early this season, Holmes was the second field corner behind Reggie Smith, but when D.J. Wolfe struggled Holmes was moved to the other side of the field where he has eventually won the job and excelled this season.
Holmes is one of the best pure athletes on the team, even good enough to earn an opportunity to play on the Sooner basketball team. However, a guy as athletic as Holmes can lose confidence at times and he recently talked to OUInsider.com about his struggle to make his mark as a Sooner.
JH: Why did you want to move from wide receiver to cornerback in the spring?
LH: "I moved because I had lost all confidence at receiver. I just felt that I had no confidence at receiver coming from where I came from (Dallas South Oak Cliff). I am the man and everything used to evolve around me. When the team needed big plays back then, I made them. So I just had to really get it in my head that in college everybody is good and that everybody is an All-American and trying to do something.
"I had to really get that in my head. I guess I had no confidence in myself and I didn't believe in myself anymore on offense. I had to do something. If offense wasn't working I knew I had defense and I asked to see what I could do over there."
JH: How did you regain your confidence on the defensive side of the ball?
LH: "I knew if I was going to make that move that I was going to have to prove myself. I had to prove to myself that I can do it. I just couldn't say that I want to make that move and then sit over there or come over there and do nothing. I had to step up and really prove that I could play defense.
"When I made that move I was willing to show everybody that I could do something at Oklahoma. I wanted to show that I wasn't any screw up. I really wanted to prove myself and make a statement that I can play on this team and I am not hurting anything."
JH: What was the toughest thing about making the transition from wide receiver to cornerback?
LH: "There really was not tough adjustment. The toughest thing for me was just learning the plays and technique. I had everything else. I had good athletic ability, I had good jumping ability and I could tackle and hit. None of things at cornerback were new to me. I just learned the technique and play calling."
JH: You had to learn both the boundary corner and the field corner right?
LH: "Yeah, but that wasn't all that hard either. It was just getting confidence on defense that I could play on both sides. It was a tough job at first. At field corner, I got real comfortable and I am thinking to myself that I have this down. Then when coach (Bobby Jack) Wright switched me to go to boundary, I was hesitant at first but I said I would try it.
"When I first moved to boundary I would get it mixed up with field sometimes, so I really got down and started listening and I started to ask some questions. I started learning more and more about the boundary corner and now I totally understand it."
JH: What are your thoughts on Boise State and going to the Fiesta Bowl?
LH: "I am real excited to go to the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State is a real good team. I have watched them myself when they have played on television. They have only lost one game and that was last year. They are undefeated this year, so I think it is going to be a really good game. We can't slack off just because you hear the name Boise State and it doesn't mean anything to you. Those boys come ready to play and they are very good."
JH: The fact they are one of two undefeated teams in the country automatically gets your attention doesn't it?
LH: "Absolutely. They made it to the Fiesta Bowl for a reason. They have an explosive offense and are very balanced. Boise State is going to be a great challenge for us."
Holmes playing with confidence again
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