Stoops on draft, offensive line


Posted Apr 27, 2006


Spring drills are over and the NFL Draft is this weekend. Pretty soon the long football-less summer will be upon us. Wildcat head coach Mike Stoops touched on both the draft and spring practice.

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Coach Stoops discussed the chances of Wildcat seniors being drafted:

“They are all kind of bunched together. I think Copeland might be the first one to go. Baugher would have went relatively high if he was not injured but I still think he would have bend fated. I am not going to predict.

“(They’ll be) the first guys drafted in three or four years, that tell you everything about our player development. Now these guys have been here two years that has helped them become physical players, but it still tells you we weren't doing a good job in player development. Now you are going to start seeing us go up and up. Michael Johnson has a chance to be a first round, maybe the best safety in football next year.

“They came in on the backend of it, but they have made some improvement. I it is going o be interesting. I am hoping they go from (rounds) 3-6, that will be good for every one of them.

“I go back and look a our track record and look how we developed those player at Oklahoma, and we will do the same thing here. It is the system that will make you a great player if you believe and if you do the work that is necessary to become a great player. A lot of that work has to come from them. They have to have the drive and the maturity and the heart to win and compete. If they do, then this system will develop you.”

On the team’s development:

“To the man they will tell you they feel so much more comfortable. Lat year they were tentative and got out of position and didn't feel right when they were in position. Linebackers a lot happens during the course of a play.

“If we can get Paul Phillip healthy and we can add a couple of guys to the mix this summer than I think we are going to be very formidable across the board defensively 1 through 11. We have a chance to be really, really solid.

“We have gotten better fundamentally and physically across the board. Offensively it is hared to get a good rhythm throughout spring football because you are going up against the same guys. It is going against guys who have seen every single play that you have run time and time again. It makes it a little more difficult to get in rhythm and the tempo you want.

“We have not consistently moved the ball, and I think there are reasons why. We are still young at tailback. It is a position that is very, very important to our success. Chris Henry has made a lot of progress and Xavier Smith has shown great promise. Terry has shown some progress. They are coming on, and gaining confidence.”

On the offensive line:

“The offensive line is the deepest it has ever been. Finding the best five to seven guys is the next step in piecing that thing together.

“The o-line is a hard, hard position to play, especially with the speed of the game. All of our young offensive line got a good initiation this spring and will learn a lot from it and will have to come back and be better in the fall. It will be bigger emphasis this summer.

“You have to be good up front or you have very little chance.”



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