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Oklahoma football: Mike Stoops praises linebacker Tom Wort for performance against Texas

Wort is still learning Stoops' defensive scheme. Stoops said: “We loved the way he played Saturday. If we can get that out of him every time he steps on the field, we'll be in business.”
by Jason Kersey Published: October 15, 2012

“I've just had to adapt and do the best I can with the new system and new coaches,” Wort said.

Mike Stoops also asks his linebackers to play more against the pass than Wort ever has, so when he got beat a few times early in Oklahoma's win at Texas Tech, redshirt freshman Frank Shannon supplanted him and excelled.

“Frank's a great player,” Wort said. “We've got to play to guys' strengths.”

Stoops said: “We're gaining depth in our football team; good depth. Quality depth. If you've got a guy like Frank behind you, it's gonna motivate you to do a lot of good things. ... We wish we had a bunch of guys like that. Young, talented players that can push players.”

Among the biggest adjustments this season, though, for Wort has been life without Venables, who recruited Wort to Norman and became his position coach.

Venables and Wort developed a very close, personal relationship before Venables bowed out of Norman in January.

“Me and (linebackers coach Tim) Kish get along great,” Wort said. “Me and Coach (Mike) Stoops do, too.”

So it isn't a matter of Wort not getting along with the new coaches; it's more about missing Venables?

“A lot of stuff goes into it,” Wort responded. “You can sum it up like that.”

Mike Stoops understands players develop affection for particular coaches but said he and Kish are getting there with Wort.

“It takes time, and Tom's growing like all of us are, and starting to gain confidence and trust in the system,” Stoops said. “What he's done poorly on the football field up to this point, there's nothing he can't improve on. He knows that. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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