Oklahoma football: Defensive back Jesse Paulsen thrown into the fire

Former walk-on played well while replacing injured starter Tony Jefferson
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: September 10, 2012

“He was tough, he stayed in for a little bit, but then he was like, ‘Come on Jesse, get me out,'” Paulsen said.

That's when he Paulsen started to mentally prepare.

“I had some butterflies,” Paulsen said. “I wasn't really prepared to get in that situation, but I just went in there and tried to calm my heart down and do the best I could.”

If Jefferson were to remain sidelined, Sooners fans will see a lot more of Paulsen. But neither Paulsen nor Stoops thinks Jefferson will miss game time on Sept. 22, when Oklahoma plays Kansas State.

Although Jefferson did not practice Monday, he has plenty of time to recover. The Sooners have a bye week before taking on the Wildcats.

On Monday, Jefferson stood on the practice field, wearing a boot. He offered advice to Paulsen to make him better.

“He knows all those little tips because he's been there,” Paulsen said. “I encouraged all of his advice. Having his experience and him telling my eyes what to read, for me, it's important.”

The senior spent significant time on the field helping on kickoff, punt and punt returns. He made three solo tackles.

Although Paulsen said it was his mistake for the 75-yard touchdown pass FAMU posted late in the second quarter when he wasn't in deep coverage, senior Demontre Hurst said he'd take the blame.

“Me being a veteran, I have to be better at communicating with him,” Hurst said. “It was his first time playing on defense in a big game like that. He was probably a little nervous, but I think the jitters are out now.

“To kind of see his story, he's come a long way to work his way up to getting on the field. He had his opportunity.

“I don't blame him for anything on the field. He did pretty good. He came and made some plays. I was just happy to see him flying around out there. His dream came true.”

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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