NORMAN — Oklahoma junior defensive tackle Torrea Peterson admitted nearly leaving the team after the 2011 season.
Coach Bob Stoops and former defensive line coach Jackie Shipp talked Peterson out of it, but he said his maturity is something that continues to evolve.
A fresh start under new position coach Jerry Montgomery might've been just the boost Peterson needed.
“I was a little bit young minded my earlier years here,” Peterson said. “It's not an overnight transformation, but certainly that helped me reestablish myself as the young man I came in as through high school and everything. I think that benefitted me a little bit.”
Montgomery, 33, arrived in early March, becoming the youngest member of Oklahoma's coaching staff. He was a four-year starting defensive tackle at Iowa under position coach Ron Aiken in the early 2000s, and said that experience shaped what has become his positive, encouraging coaching style.
“(Aiken) never cursed,” Montgomery said. “He never really raised his voice; he coached us hard and taught us technique and fundamentals, but he'd give us a look where you'd just know you'd better pick it up.
“People can do it 100 different ways, but it's just the way I do it. I believe in a guy making a play and patting him on the back when he does something right. I believe when he does it wrong, you teach him how to do it better. I think that's what a great teacher does and I was lucky enough to have one of those guys.”
Montgomery spent the past two seasons as Michigan's defensive line coach. At Oklahoma, he inherits a unit decimated by graduation; most of the Sooners' 2012 defensive linemen were seniors. Junior Chuka Ndulue is the unit's only returning member who saw significant action last season.