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Oklahoma football: The Tony Jefferson scandal

by Berry Tramel Published: January 24, 2013

Another draft/workout scandal has erupted at OU. I have no idea what really happened with Tony Jefferson, whether or not an OU coach trashed Jefferson’s workout habits to NFL scouts. But here’s what I do know:

ike Stoops talks with Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson (1) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas State University Wildcats (KSU) at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

ike Stoops talks with Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson (1) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas State University Wildcats (KSU) at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

* It’s perfectly reasonable for OU coaches and/or staff to give an honest appraisal to NFL scouts. If you want to promote your guys to pro personnel, you have to be willing to be honest both ways. You tell a scout how great a guy is, it’s hard to be credible if you’re not going to say the opposite.

But with that honesty comes responsibility. No way can a scout leak that. If I’m Bob Stoops, I’m on the horn with my staff, finding out exactly which scouts were told what, then I’m on the horn with said scouts laying down the law. I don’t know if it’s possible to trim it down to one perpetrator, but if so, that guy’s banned from campus.

* With all that said, why the bashing of Jefferson? “Horrible practice habits” and “lack of work ethic in the weight room.”

Let’s say it’s true. I have no idea if it’s true. But let’s say it is. Jefferson was not OU’s biggest problem in 2012 or 2011. Jefferson was not among OU’s 50 biggest problems in 2012 or 2011. Jefferson seldom got beat deep and made a ton of tackles.  If very Sooner had played to the level of Jefferson, OU’s last two seasons would have looked vastly different.

What exactly did OU coaches want from Jefferson? They moved him closer to the line of scrimmage in 2011, apparently in the eternal quest to find the next Roy Williams. Jefferson is an excellent safety, but he’s no Roy Williams, and neither is anyone else on the college level. Jefferson isn’t the physical specimen that Williams was, and maybe coaches are saying that the weight room could have changed that. I’m skeptical. I think far too often, coaches — and people in everyday life — focus too much on what a guy can’t do rather than what he can.

Jefferson was a heck of a ballplayer for OU. He will be missed.

* walterfootball.com, the website which reported OU coaches’ displeasure with Jefferson, is one of those made-from-scratch sites that has earned a place in the competitive market of NFL draft analysis. Walter Cherepinsky, a 30-year-old Penn State graduate, started the website while in high school. He got a sports journalism degree but then went to work in mortgages — and hated it, he said in a 2009 interview with footballdiner.com. He self-taught himself how to generate web traffic, received some advertising offers and off he went.

I have no idea what kind of credibility walterfootball.com has within the football world, but I know I’ve checked out his draft stuff in the past and he seems no better or worse than the other prominent draft sites. In some ways, it’s an American success story.

 

 


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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