Cameron Kenney knows there’s no rewind button in life. You can’t simply start all over when things don’t go your way.
If there were, the senior wide receiver would love to go back to August 2009 with the experience he’s gained over the last year.
“Everything happened so fast. I was such a nervous wreck last year,” Kenney said. “Every time I would get a call, I would completely over think everything. I just didn’t have fun. Now, I’m understanding the offense and I’m a lot more comfortable.”
Kenney came into a tough spot last season. When he transferred in from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, he was expected to be a player who made an immediate impact.
All the pieces were in place for him to do it. The Sooners needed receivers, and Kenney seemed like a sure bet to fill a spot.
But like he said, he spent most of last season in a fog. There were moments that said he was heading in the right direction. He caught a touchdown pass against Miami and led the team with six catches, but he was never able to build on anything. Every success seemed to be followed by a setback.
Kenney shared a common trait with the majority of OU’s receivers, other than Ryan Broyles: Catching passes was a problem.
“I have high school coaches saying, ‘Catch the ball!’ It’s not a good feeling to go back home and see people who expect big things out of you,” Kenney said. “I go back and people just ask, ‘what happened?’”
But that doesn’t matter now.
This is a new season for Kenney and a chance to end his college career on a high note. Doing so may be the hard part. Kenney had a clear path to the field last season because of OU’s limited depth at wide receiver. A beefed emphasis on the spot brought in five freshman this season, and it has pushed every veteran receiver OU has.
“The ante has really been raised. There’s a lot more competition than they had a year ago,” receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “We’ve got five new kids that are all real athletic and can really run. So, they have to step their game up because the competition has stepped up.”
Kenney is fine with that. Last year, he was still trying to learn plays while trying to learn how to play major college football. Even if it didn’t always show on Saturdays, the education paid off.
“I really feel more comfortable now being thrown into the mix and I feel more confident in my team as well,” he said. “It was just a lot harder for me to adapt to that type of football last year. It wasn’t the same type of football that I’m used to playing. It wasn’t just go out there and have fun, it was a process and more of things that you have to know. This year I’m able to be more elusive and I’m a lot happier out there. I’m having fun.”
Having fun is the key. Football is a tough sport. If the joy isn’t there, it just seems like back-breaking labor. Kenney got through that part last season. He knows his job and he’s ready for any opportunities tossed his way. OU’s current depth chart currently has him as the No. 2 slot receiver behind Broyles. Things, however, can change. There’s always going to be opportunities for receivers at OU.
“If I get half the chances I got last year, then I’ll be satisfied,” Kenney said.
John Shinn 366-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org