The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 20, 2009

Sooners believe their specialists will be improved across the board

When Jimmy Stevens was asked the biggest kick he made last season, the sophomore couldn’t come up with a typical pressure kick. All 12 of the Sooners’ wins came by at least 14 points. There were no opportunities for him to play the hero.

Instead, he thought it was one late in the first half of OU’s 66-28 victory over Texas A&M.;

“If I didn’t make that one, I probably wouldn’t have kicked the rest of the season,” he said.

Stevens admits now his confidence suffered throughout his first season as OU’s kicker. He made 8-of-12 attempts and a season long of just 42 yards. It wasn’t the breakout season he planned.

“I kept telling myself throughout the season I was good enough to be here,” Stevens said. “If I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be here.”

The kicker’s struggles mirrored OU’s special teams last season. Anything involving them putting a foot on the ball, was a struggle.

The punt unit finished 85th in the country in net punting. The kick coverage unit allowed four returns for a touchdown.

It’s why special teams was given added emphasis in the offseason and has been stressed heavily in the preseason.

“I spent more time during the off time studying other people, seeing what they do and what we can do better scheme wise and with personnel,” special teams coordinator Chris Wilson said. “It’s been one of the big things we’ve focused on. Coach Stoops and the rest of our staff have really focused on it.”

The talent is there for the Sooners’ special teams to once again be special. The return game has some great talent with wide receiver Ryan Broyles and cornerback Dominique Franks both back. Each has shown the ability to change games with the ball in their hands.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

Facebook