NORMAN — Cole Ridgway moved to Norman almost a year ago, and the junior admits he was a little lost in his first few weeks. Looking for a change, his family moved to Norman without knowing anyone in the area, and the change in schools wasn’t easy.
So it was only natural for Ridgway, who in his freshman year played football at a Class B school in Nebraska, to return to something he knew well. That meant a trip to Norman High football coach Greg Nation’s office, and a short time later to the locker room, where he was instantly accepted by his new teammates.
“All the guys accepted me and I made a lot of different friends on the team,” Ridgway said. “After moving and not knowing anyone, it definitely helped me out.”
Now Ridgway is returning the favor.
After securing the starting job at right tackle early in the season, Ridgway has only improved as the season has gone on. As a member of the offensive line for the Tigers, an offense that relies heavily on the option run, Ridgway’s success is a major factor in whether or not the Tigers are able to move the ball down the field.
And he’s done an exceptional job at that, something that not many would have predicted a year ago. Ridgway, who hit a big growth spurt in his freshman year, was still adjusting to his new 6-3, 295-pound frame, and at times that made him look almost clumsy as he struggled to adjust, Nation said.
“He had a hard time for a little while, but he’s really improved quickly,” said Nation, who nicknamed Ridgway “Big Cat” in one of his first practices. “Now, he’s not just OK; he does a good job of running now. He’s kind of a gentle giant, and it’s great to have him on that right side of the line.”