Is OU linebacker Tom Wort the British Boz?

Say this for the spirited, mohawked Sooner freshman: His debut was memorable.
By JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: September 9, 2010 at 9:34 am •  Published: September 8, 2010

NORMAN — For his first college game, Tom Wort's play resembled that of an English soccer fan.

Intense. Passionate. Occasionally nonsensical.

Wort's final grade against Utah State more than doubled that of any other linebacker.

But a pair of personal fouls coming three plays apart led to Utah State points and ignited a comeback that almost resulted in one of the worst losses in Sooner history.

"He was very productive on our grade sheet," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "But he got blocked too much, he missed too many tackles and he had two personal fouls, so the negative far outweighed the positive in my book.

"But there's definitely a great foundation to build from. He's a good player, he's a tough, hard-working kid, he's got great character and he wants to be coached. So he'll learn from the negatives. You've just got to know how to channel the emotion the right way."

The British-born Wort isn't the first Sooner middle linebacker who's had to learn restraint. Or who's sported a mohawk.

And just like ex-OU great Brian Bosworth, Wort relishes the contact in football.

"I love hitting people and playing the game," he said.

Despite growing up in a town just outside London, Wort always seemed destined to play football. American football, that is.

His dad, Brian, played running back and guard for a club team in England, which is how Wort learned the sport.

When Brian would take business trips to the U.S., he would bring back inflatable footballs for his son.

The tricky part for Wort was finding someone to play with. And then, keeping the alien ball from getting confiscated by paranoid administrators.

"I'd bring it to school, and a couple of the kids would know what it was," Wort said. "One time, we were playing catch on the playground, and the headmaster came out and took it away from me.

"He said the point of the ball might hurt someone."

Wort didn't begin playing football for real until his dad, an engineer for water parks, got a job in Rhode Island. There, Wort immediately signed up for eighth-grade football.

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