NORMAN — Classes begin at Oklahoma today. Training camp is over and the routine of a long season will quickly be established.
For some Sooner players, it’s been a familiar routine with the same coach for the last four years. Others, however, have had different experience. They constantly had to adjust.
OU safety Gabe Lynn reminisced about it last week when asked about defensive coordinator/safeties coach Mike Stoops entering his second season. Lynn talked about adapting to his style and personality last season. There was a natural transition period.
But he was used to the coaching modifications.
“For me and Aaron (Colvin), he’s our third DB coach,” Lynn said. “You definitely got to get used to it. After getting a full year under our belt, we’re pretty good with it.”
That could be one of the most overlooked factors in the play of the Sooners’ secondary that last few years. Lynn, a fifth-year senior, started his career when Bobby Jack Wright was the secondary coach in 2009. He spent two seasons working under Willie Martinez before Mike Stoops returned to OU last season.
That’s a lot of change.
Along the way, Lynn has shifted from cornerback to nickel safety to, now, one of OU’s starting safeties.
It’s not uncommon for defensive backs to switch positions like that. Developing a good secondary involves a lot of trial and error. Colvin, is one of the best cornerbacks in college football. In 2011, he was OU’s leading tackler at safety.
But with each secondary coach, those experiments seem to begin anew.
“That’s what coaching is, is trying to make adjustments and being sound in how we attack those situations,” Stoops said. “I think you feel much more comfortable. It takes a year to understand the players, for the players to understand you and what your expectations are.”