The "Hammer" Hits the Field Strong So Far

Former OU defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said last year Ronnell Lewis would blast through a brick wall he hits so hard.

OU head coach Bob Stoops called Lewis the "Hammer" after his impressive Sun Bowl performance.

"He had so much power and explosiveness," Stoops said. "He's a young guy, [and] he's just unusual how powerful he is and the way he can run. He's got a chance to be a special player."

Stoops went into a story about a hypnotist.

"It's funny we were with the hypnotist a couple nights ago," Stoops said. "He was in the crowd not supposed to be getting hypnotized and then was. When he came out of it he had a bad headache. You could tell he wasn't all there. He was in he was out. So I walked up to the guy afterwards, and I said ‘I want my hammer.' I said ‘I'm not leaving without my hammer.' I told him you got to get my man right. He put him back in and by the next morning he felt all good."

In that game against Stanford, he recorded six tackles and a forced fumble.

And the "Hammer," as he's known, has carried it over into spring.

"Spring for me has been going pretty good," Lewis said. "You know, [there's] a bust here and there, but I'm working to improve on everything, skills, you know, technique and all that. I mean, I've still got a lot to learn, and it's just a day-to-day basis that, you know, I've just got to improve myself and give myself for the team."

It's that team attitude that has allowed him to shoulder the responsibility of switching back and forth between defensive end and linebacker so far this spring.

"Oh yeah, a little [defensive] end, mostly I'm just an all-around guy on defense," Lewis said. "You know, it doesn't matter what position it is as long as I'm getting to play and get out there and, you know, just be physical and try to help myself and my team. You know, I'm a team player, and I like to get the job done, so I'm doing whatever perks that there are."

And it's also his love for the game that has kept moving between multiple positions from being too overwhelming for him.

"I love the game, and, you know, I love going out there hitting and so, just coming out and getting ready for practice is just, you know, it's not overwhelming," Lewis said. "It's the game I love to play, so I mean just going out there having fun. I don't think about it as being overwhelming or [too] challenging."

Throughout all that, he said he's just focused on maximizing the potential both for himself and the team.

"Yeah, I mean, I like to work and I like the challenge," Lewis said. "So I mean, I just want to step up to the plate and, you know, do whatever they want me to do and do it my best."

The Sooners are hoping that the hard-hitting, 234 lb. force, who recorded 22 total tackles last year and wowed people with his bruising special teams hits, will rise up to the occasion as OU's starting strong side linebacker.

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