Oklahoma football: Dominique Alexander has prepared a long time for a moment like this

The Oklahoma linebacker, who will replace the injured Corey Nelson, has been a hard worker since elementary school days and through his days at Tulsa Washington.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: October 10, 2013 at 11:40 am •  Published: October 9, 2013

The driveway at the light brick house on East Latimer Place in Tulsa is fairly standard.

Concrete. Flat. About 15 yards long.

But it became a training ground for the Alexander brothers.

Under their dad's supervision, they ran suicides, using breaks in the concrete as their turning points. They jumped rope, a hundred jumps at a time. They hopped back and forth over a flower pot, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off.

They were in elementary school, but Derrick Alexander Sr. put his sons through the workout a couple times a week.

“So we picked up on working hard,” big brother, Derrick Jr., said.

During a week that little brother, Dominique, will make his first college start at linebacker for Oklahoma — it will come in the Cotton Bowl against Texas — the Sooner Nation wants to know how he will fare. Will the true freshman be able to handle the pressure? Will he be able to replace the injured Corey Nelson?

Is Alexander ready?

He's been working toward this moment all his life.

*

Dominique Alexander started as a basketball player.

That's the way his dad wanted it. Even though Derrick Sr. played football at Oklahoma State — he was the Tulsa World's metro Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 as a senior at Tulsa Washington High — he didn't want his boys playing tackle football until at least sixth grade. So, he encouraged them to play basketball, even coached their teams.

Dominique got so good that he thought his sports future was basketball. But the interest from college recruiters told a different story.

Big-time football programs were way more interested than big-time basketball programs.

His sophomore year at Booker T, Dominique decided to get serious about football. He knew what he needed to do.

Work. Work. Work.

Then work some more.

He would practice, condition and lift with the team, then he would go with his dad, a 20-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, and lift some more.

Dominique had great examples all around him. He came through Booker T on the heels of several Division-I football players, including Calvin Barnett (OSU), Tyler Lockett (Kansas State) and his brother. Derrick Jr. was the Tulsa World All-State Player of the Year in 2010 and signed with Tulsa.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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