Sophomore defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger (6'3, 310) was a solid player in his first year for defensive tackle coach Jackie Shipp. Granger made the Sooners four-man rotation a year ago and finished with 20 tackles (four for loss).
Granger admitted his first year in the trenches was an eye-opening experience for him, but the man who is considered one of the strongest Sooners is ready for a break-out season in 2007.
After a recent Sooner practice, Granger stopped by to talk to OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: What are you goals this spring?
DG: "The fact that I am no longer playing nose this spring, and now that I am playing the 3-technique position that is totally different for me. I spent a year learning nose and the ins and outs of the position. It is just like a mechanic, who is used to working on one car and then they switch it out on him. So, now working at the 3-technique everything is not going to be perfect. I am not going to play just like you want it right now, but I am working at it and I am learning. I am learning technique all over again."
JH: Do you like the new position better?
DG: "I know the 3-technique, but I don't know the 3-position. You know what I mean? I think the move is going to help me both ways, especially if somebody goes down. Coach Shipp says he wants the best players out there and he doesn't mean the best nose or the best 3-technique, he just means the best two players out there. So you have to learn both of them if you want to get out there."
JH: There is great competition at your position isn't there?
DG: "It is all over the place. We have Gerald (McCoy), young Adrian (Taylor) and Cory (Bennett). Steve (Coleman) is hurt, but he can come back any time and turn it on. He can get in front of you in a hurry, so you can lose your position in one day if you are not ready to play. You always have to be ready to get it cranked up."
JH: How is your back holding up?
DG: "It is good. It is not hurting anymore. I think that was more of me playing a long season like we had last year. That long year just wore on me, but I haven't had any back problems since last season."
JH: I heard you had a great offseason, so just how good was it?
DG: "I put on five extra pounds of good weight. That is what I wanted and I am at 310 now. Now, I don't get pushed around down there. I put five good pounds on and if anything starts to bother me like my legs or my back, I can easily just get back down to 300 or 295 if I wanted to."
JH: I heard you had a great offseason in the weight room?
DG: "I think I improved my bench by 20 pounds. I did 420 or maybe 430."
JH: Aren't you at the position where upper body strength is important?
DG: "It helps, but the main thing is your footwork. You have to get your footwork right before you can use your hands. It helps, but your feet are more important."
JH: What has been your impression of the defense thus far in camp?
DG: "It is slowly, but surely, coming together. We have a young defense. Our linebackers are fairly new and young. Our D-line has one or two years under our belts so we are basically young. So, it is coming together and in the next scrimmage we should do a lot better than our first scrimmage. We didn't play very well in the first scrimmage up front."
JH: What has been your impression of the offense that you have been going up against every day?
DG: "They are getting better every day. Since the first year I was here they were young, but now we are young and they are older up front. They have the older group since they have everybody coming back. It is a little more challenging this spring."