Oklahoma football: Tony Jefferson needs to work on the little things
Sooner safety has a high ceiling, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops says he still has room to grow.
NORMAN — Tony Jefferson believes a short memory can be essential for defensive backs.
Mike Stoops wishes his aggressive free safety would be more mindful of his mistakes, so as to avoid repeating them.
Videoview all videos
Nov 27Looks like Tennessee and its media won’t get the man...
Nov 27The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey talks about possible bowl...
Photoview all photos
NewsOK Related Articles
Jefferson's talent is apparent, and his ceiling is high; ESPN.com ranks the junior as the No. 5 safety prospect for next April's NFL Draft were he to skip his senior season at Oklahoma.
But before he can reach that potential, Stoops said, he's got to work on perfecting the little things that separate good players from great ones.
“He does some things that really aggravate you, but he comes back and does so many good things,” said Stoops, Oklahoma's defensive coordinator.
“He has a chance to be special, and getting him to understand the little things — the finer things that make players great — has always been my struggle with Tony.”
Jefferson developed his reputation as Oklahoma's premiere defender over the last two seasons as the Sooners' nickel back, a hybrid position that requires a linebacker's toughness and a safety's pass-coverage skills.
Enter Stoops; upon his January arrival, he moved Jefferson to a more traditional free safety position.
The change initially appeared to improve Oklahoma's defense.
Jefferson's athleticism — combined with the increased freedom his new position allowed — made him a force in both run and pass defense.
But over the past few games against high-powered offenses and their mobile quarterbacks, the Sooner defense has struggled. Jefferson hasn't been an exception, and he knows it.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 11884OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 10282Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 7018Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 5955Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater
- 5764Oklahoma medical examiner reports cause of deaths in Grand Lake boat crash
- 4633Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 4517Soaring gasoline prices hurt Oklahoma City area retailers