NORMAN — Dorial Green-Beckham came to Norman looking like the complete wide receiver.
The lessons he needed to learn after being dismissed from Missouri following his sophomore season seemed to reside off the field.
But since Green-Beckham came to Oklahoma this summer looking for a second chance, he’s learning plenty on the field as well.
“We just push the dog out of him,” Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “We train him like he’s going to play. … We’re getting him there. He’s not there yet. We’re really working with him. He’s spent extra time after practice just getting on the same page.”
Green-Beckham was cut loose by Missouri following allegations that he pushed his way into an apartment and shoved a woman down several stairs. He was not charged in the incident, but the allegations, paired with his two previous arrests in recent years for marijuana-related offenses, led to his dismissal.
If Green-Beckham is given immediate eligibility by the NCAA — and sources indicated OU officials are “confident” that he will be — he gives the Sooners a dynamic they’ve lacked in recent years.
The Sooners’ two returning receivers with significant experience — Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal — are 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11.
The two leading receivers who left the Sooners after last year, Jalen Saunders and Lacoltan Bester, were 5-foot-9 and 6-foot-3.
Green-Beckham is 6-foot-6.
If Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight has a target that big on the outside, it could be a big boost for the offense.
“I think you take more chances as a quarterback throwing it to those guys because they are bigger targets and we’ve see some advantages of that,” Norvell said. “We’re obviously going to utilize those kids in a little bit different way and they also become excellent red-zone targets. We’re happy to have those bigger bodies in the program. We’ve been trying to get them for a long time.”
While the other tall receivers are young and raw, though, Green-Beckham is ready to be one of OU’s top offensive weapons.
Last season, he had 59 catches for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Tigers and was the best player on the field during Missouri’s SEC Championship Game loss to Auburn.
Since Green-Beckham’s arrival, Norvell has pushed him to exceed that production, whether it’s this year or whenever he gets to play next.
“I tell him every day, ‘How great do you wanna be? Do you wanna be great or do you wanna be average?’” Norvell said. “Great players separate themselves. Great players wanna be the best at the little things.
“Things other people take for granted, the great ones, they don’t.”
Green-Beckham’s biggest adjustment has been adjusting to the tempo OU uses on offense.
“Our offense is very fast and with him trying to still learn about the offense, he gets stuck on some plays, but he’s getting better every day,” Neal said.
Neal has helped Green-Beckham make those adjustments.
“Anytime he needs to know something, I answer it for him,” Neal said. “If I see that there’s something that he’s doing that I can help him with, I know I’ll try to get that to him before coach Jay does. That’ll stop him from getting yelled at.”
As good as Green-Beckham was at Missouri, though, Norvell insists he can be so much more.
“He came here to learn new things,” Norvell said. “He’s learning to work hard in between plays. We say it takes 21 days to learn a pattern. We’re on day 15.
“We’re trying to build habits right now, and he’s making progress.”