By John Shinn
Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and offensive tackle Trent Williams were placed on the watch list Tuesday for the Outland Trophy, presented annually to the top lineman in college football.
McCoy is coming off an All-American sophomore season in which he started all 14 games and finished the campaign with 30 tackles, 11 for loss, 61⁄2 sacks and one interception.
Williams was an all-Big 12 selection last season He started all 14 games last season and logged 131 knockdowns.
The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third-oldest award in major college football. Sooner players have captured the Outland five times since 1951, when Jim Weatherall was the school’s first winner. J.D. Roberts won the trophy in 1963, followed by Lee Roy Selmon in 1975, Greg Roberts in 1978 and Jammal Brown in 2004.
Ahead of schedule
Williams said the offensive line, which will include three first-year starters this season, is progressing at a fast rate. He believes the group is way ahead of where it was in his first season as a starter back in 2006.
“I think we might be a little ahead of schedule because of the way the young guys are learning stuff. They’re picking things up pretty fast,” he said. “My first year we were working on how to stand in the huddle and try to figure out which way the play was going. But, now we’re going so fast, it’s like the speed of light and the young guys are catching on.”
the upper hand?
Defense is expected to be a strength for the Sooners this season. Through the first couple practices Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson believes that will be the case.
“Well, we are struggling,” Wilson said. “The way we practice they kind of know your count, kind of know your plays. We don’t cut, and it would kind of be nice to cut to slow them up. There is no fear of getting cut, so they are like raging bulls that are out of control. In my world, I call that chopped bait. If you whack that leg one time, he wouldn’t be as fast. You know we’re hanging on, and I think we’re doing well.”
OU’s biggest hope this season is that it won’t have to use backup quarterbacks Landry Jones or Drew Allen in a key situation. Wilson said both are still showing the growing pains common among young quarterbacks.
“They have made a couple of daring throws and we’re like, ‘Come on now, risk and reward.’ They make throws, and I am going, ‘That is a great risk.’ I ask, ‘Are you sure about that? Why do you want to try to stick that one in here?’”
OU announced Tuesday night that a portion of two practices will be open to the public. The first hour of Thursday’s and Monday’s practices at the OU Rugby Fields will be open to fans. The practices are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
If weather conditions force practice to be moved indoors, public access will be canceled due to a lack of seating space in the Everest Training Facility. Cameras of any kind are prohibited at the practices.