|| He's Back!
On January 14, cornerback Aaron Colvin announced that he would return to Oklahoma for his senior season. That decision not only invigorated the Sooners' fan base, it also gave defensive coordinator Mike Stoops reason to sleep a little easier at night. With Colvin back in the fold with the intention of taking care of "unfinished business," OU's defensive boss plans to take full advantage of his skills.
"Aaron is a very complete player," said Stoops. "He has the intensity, the focus and the drive. He's here for a purpose and he wants to be a first-round draft pick. I think he sets the tone for our whole defense. He's a great leader and he's a great competitor which is the most important thing when you watch Aaron play."
Last season, head coach Bob Stoops indicated that he felt Colvin had the opportunity to become the best player that he's ever coached at the cornerback position during his tenure at Oklahoma. That's quite an endorsement, but there's little doubt that the Owasso, Okla., native has a chance to become one of the premier cornerbacks in all of college football this season.
As the only returning starter in the Sooners' secondary, both Stoops brothers are expecting to Colvin to anchor the Oklahoma defensive backfield. The senior cornerback has played in 39 career games (26 starts). He opened all 13 games at cornerback for OU in 2012 after starting 12 games at safety in 2011. He owns 179 career tackles (126 solo), 10.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and 20 PBUs.
"I think we all took for granted his ability to make plays the way he does on the football field," Mike Stoops said. "If he stays healthy and continues to develop and keep working he'll put himself into a very elite category of player."
Colvin has not only embraced the high expectations placed on his shoulders, but also realizes that he'll be leaned on as one of several senior leaders on defense.
"It is kind of making me somewhat reminiscent of the high school days when I had to step up and be that leader for the team as a senior," Colvin said. "I am a vet now. It kind of feels weird but I have realized my role that I have to become more vocal and I have to kind of take charge more. That is my main focus. I am just trying to come out here, as well as some others, Corey Nelson and Gabe Lynn, and we are just trying to come out here just trying lead our team."
|| Stoops Speaks
Head coach Bob Stoops confirmed after practice that offensive lineman Tyler Evans re-injured the right ACL he originally hurt in fall practice in 2012. "The expectation now is that he's going to have to have it (surgery) redone," Stoops said. "That's very unfortunate for him."
The head coach also confirmed that Chuka Ndulue has taken some snaps at defensive tackle. "He's done a good job," Stoops said of Ndulue. "He looked good out there today. He's doing pretty well with it. Rashod Favors has played some in there and he looks good too, so we'll keep mixing guys in."
|| Cornerback Competition
While there is certainly some well-justified interest in the outcome of the Sooners' three-headed quarterback competition on the offensive side of the ball, the fight to earn the starting spot in the secondary across from Colvin will likely be just as intense. Demontre Hurst manned the other starting cornerback spot for the Sooners a year ago, earning All-Big 12 Second Team honors from the league's coaches. The fight to fill Hurst's spot has already begun.
"I'm sure there will be a little bit of experimentation there," said head coach Bob Stoops. "But, guys like Julian Wilson who has played a ton will get more. You know, I think Zack Sanchez and other guys are going to have more opportunity, Kass Everett is another guy who has played some and is ready to play, so all these guys we'll experiment with in different spots with them.
"Another guy is Cortez Johnson, a guy who transferred from Arizona. He's a big, long guy who can play. Aaron (Colvin) has been one of our consistent players and is a great leader for us, so it will be exciting and fun to see these guys out there competing."
Johnson is anxious to get back on the field in 2013 after sitting out the 2012 campaign following his transfer from Arizona, where his head coach was Mike Stoops.
"I'm just out there grinding every day," said Johnson. "I enjoyed playing for Mike at Arizona, and I appreciate him always being on me. He's really like a second father for me, so it's great to be here with him at Oklahoma."
With Wilson tentatively penciled in to work at the nickel position, other candidates to fill the vacancy left by Hurst include Kass Everett and Zack Sanchez. As a junior in 2012, Everett played in 11 games with six tackles and a forced fumble in his first season for OU after transferring from Pierce College. Sanchez redshirted last season after earning all-state First Team selection his senior year as a prep in Keller, Texas.
|| Bobby Jack's Back in the Secondary
Bobby Jack Wright's initial college coaching job came at Texas A&I from 1979-81. During Wright's tenure at Texas A&I (known as Texas A&M University - Kingsville since 1993) one of his star pupils was a cornerback named Darrell Green. Despite his stature at 5-8, Green was drafted in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, racking up 54 interceptions and seven Pro Bowl berths during his Hall of Fame career. And yes, there were two Super Bowls for him, as well.
In other words, Bobby Jack Wright is no stranger to coaching talented performers in the secondary. This spring, Wright has returned to his roots in the defensive backfield, coaching the Sooners' cornerbacks, while Mike Stoops concentrates on the OU safeties in addition to his defensive coordinator duties.
While Wright has only been in his new role for four practices this spring, Colvin is excited about the opportunity to have the man who originally recruited him to OU serve as his position coach.
"It has been good," Colvin observed. "He has brought a lot of energy to our group. He actually recruited me, so when I came here that is who I thought I was going to be playing for originally. It has been good to get him back. He will get on to you at sometimes, but at the same time he will show you love, so it is all fun and games."
Colvin isn't the only one excited about Wright coaching the corners this season. Add Johnson to that list, as well.
"I think one of the best things that could have happened for me is to have to Bobby Jack coaching the corners," Johnson said. "He's showing me a lot of new techniques that I've never used before. That's been big for me."
The Sooners practiced outdoors Thursday, their final workout before spring break. Coverage:
Photo Gallery (55 photos)
Spring Practice Report No. 4
Mic'd Up: Coach Wright
DB Aaron Colvin Interview
The Sooners took part in the first Oklahoma Drill of spring practice (video clips in Spring Central). Check us out at @ou_football:
A LOOK AT THE DBs
Senior Aaron Colvin | Bio
2012 All-Big 12 First Team by AP and coaches
Started all 13 games at right CB in 2012, totaling 61 tackles, 2.5 TFL, two sacks, four INTs and 11 PBU
Ranked second on the team in tackles and INTs
Ranked second in the Big 12 with four INTs.
Had eight tackles, 3 PBU and an INT at WVU (11/17/12)
RS-Senior Gabe Lynn | Bio
Played in 31 career games with 12 starts, totaling 59 tackles, 4.5 TFL, six PBU and a fumble recovery
Played in every game in 2012 with 10 starts, racking up 37 tackles, 2.5 TFL and three PBU
RS-Junior Julian Wilson | Bio
Played in 13 games with two starts in 2012, totaling 31 tackles, 2.0 TFL and five PBUs
Career-high six tackles at West Virginia (11/17/12)
Two-time Academic All-Big 12
RS-Fr. Zack Sanchez | Bio
Two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection
AP All-State First Team as a senior at Central HS in Keller, Texas
RS-Jr. Cortez Johnson | Bio
Did not play in 2012 after transferring from Arizona
Played in eight games with two starts in one season at Arizona with 16 total tackles
Fr. Ahmad Thomas | Bio
Early enrollee out of Miami Central HS in Florida
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Track all of our spring football content from analysis to video and photos in Spring Football Central, as well as a practice schedule:
Spring Central | Schedule
Bobby Jack Wright
"Aaron Colvin is going to be as good as he wants to be. He's a guy that's a really good player. He's an accomplished player with a lot of experience, but he's got the drive to even get better. He wants to be as good as he can be which is a credit to him. He's not sitting around with the attitude that he's a starter and has been here. He's worked every day with the mindset that he wants to get better every day and to be the best player he can be. I'm really happy with him."
"Cortez Johnson has been a big surprise. I love the way he's been working. His work ethic is great. He's a guy that cares. He's a guy that wants to be good. He listens, he pays attention and he tries to do everything that we ask him to do, so I'm really pleased with his progress to this point. Zach Sanchez and Brandon Young is a young walk on. Both of those guys are giving us vital snaps, so I feel good right now."