The addition of Howe may not only push the Sooners over the top this season, but his influence could leave a mark well after he’s gone.
“He’s the hardest-working individual I’ve ever been around … We need that spark in our wrestling program. That can be contagious and I think it really has become that way in our room,” Cody said. “They say, ‘OK, we work hard an everybody in our sport works hard, but (Howe’s example) is a whole different level.”
For his part, Howe may be as soft spoken as he is a hard worker.
“I just try to lead by example,” he said.
Maple believes he’s seen a difference in the Sooners’ wrestling room.
“We’re trying to hold each other accountable,” he said. “I can think of multiple times that leaders have called other guys out for not working hard and it’s just brought everybody up to speed.”
It’s a fast speed, designed to take the Sooners a very long way in one short season. Afterward, OU can worry about parlaying it into future fantastic seasons.
“It’s exciting. We can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be a process,” Cody said. “We’re not really keeping our eyes on the prize as much as we are trying to get better every day.”
Do that and OU will take its chances and like its odds when the big trophies begin being handed out.
Follow me @clayhorning