Sophomore linebacker is finally healthy after two knee surgeries.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Sophomore linebacker Ryan Reynolds has traveled a difficult road in his first two years in Norman. After his freshman season in 2005, he was moving rapidly up the depth chart the following spring before tearing the ACL in his right knee, forcing him to sit out the entire 2006 campaign. Reynolds returned to the practice field last spring only to tear the LCL in his other knee.
Back at full strength for the first time in a year-and-a-half,
the Las Vegas native has been impressive in preseason
camp and has a chance to earn the starting spot at
weakside linebacker. Poised for a breakout season in
2007, Reynolds can't wait to get back on the field
for the Sooners.
We sat down with Ryan at the conclusion of the first
full week of preseason camp:
On how it feels to be back out on the practice field:
"It feels great. Finally after two years, I'm able to be out there and do things like I've always wanted to."
On how difficult it was to deal with two knee injuries within the span of a year:
"It was frustrating, especially after tearing the ACL and being able to come back and then right away and tearing the LCL. But I knew what I had to do rehab-wise to get back out there and play, and it all seemed to work out."
On how much the injuries set back his progression up the depth chart:
"All of that was frustrating, especially when I started feeling pretty good on my ACL. I started getting the change of direction back and then I tore the LCL so I had to go through it all over again. It's slowly but surely coming back and I think I'll be fine for the season."
On what he was able to learn from veterans Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer while sitting out last year:
"Everything from how to study film to how they went about practice - they were always intense. Those are some big shoes to fill but I'm glad I was able to watch them."
On what this year's group is doing to fill the void left by those two guys:
"I think our play will speak for itself when the season comes."
On what he has done to prepare for this year and what his personal expectations are:
"I've tried to do everything to prepare. During the offseason I watched as much film as I could. Being hurt, I got a lot of film study in because I wasn't able to be out there on the practice field. In terms of expectations for myself, really it's all about the team. We're trying to be the No. 1 defense in the country and want to win the Big 12 again."
On having the opportunity to start right away this year:
"It's always a competition. I still don't have a place set in stone yet. You're always going out there trying to compete with the guy next to you and just try to do the best you can to secure that spot."
On his anticipation for getting back on the field in a real-game situation:
"I can't wait to actually get the pads on, hit and go full-speed in a real game-like situation."
On how much the preseason scrimmages will help him gauge where he's at:
"Hopefully I'll be able to see where I am as far as making tackles and being able to break down just because it's been awhile since I've been in that game-like situation. It will be good to see where everybody is at."