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Oklahoma football notebook: Sooners' Bob Stoops, A&M's Sumlin say recruiting battles just business

by Berry Tramel and Jason Kersey Published: January 3, 2013

WOODS HELPED BY CALI CONNECTION

Oklahoma true freshman receiver Derrick Woods, from Inglewood, Calif., said having other guys from his home state around helped him adjust to an unfamiliar environment.

Junior wideout Kenny Stills, one of those fellow Californians, gushed over Woods' development this season on the scout team.

“Most improved player — by far — in our receiving core,” Stills said. “He's a great athlete, but there's a lot of stuff that kids have to learn coming from high school to college.

“We're taking care of him, and with the guys that I recruited, they knew I was gonna be here and take care of them if they ever needed anything. He's continuing to get better and he wants to make an impact next year on the field.”

IKARD WINS SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AWARD

Oklahoma junior center Gabe Ikard and Texas A&M senior defensive back Steven Terrell were honored Thursday as recipients of the Dan S. Petty Scholar-Athlete Award at the Big Play Luncheon in Dallas.

Petty played in the 1960 Cotton Bowl for Texas and went on to serve as chairman of the game's team selection committee for 10 seasons. He died in January 2011.

Each respective head coach and athletic director selects its school's award recipient.

MISSING KINGSBURY

Texas A&M's offensive coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury, resigned a few weeks ago to become head coach at Texas Tech.

“Losing Kliff was big,” said offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. “He was such a great offensive coordinator for us. He is a great coach. He is definitely a cool guy to follow and I enjoyed having him with us. I'm glad he is at Tech. It is great for him. It is such a great opportunity.

“With my dad being a Texas Tech grad, he is definitely excited about that.”

WRONG LEAGUE FOR MILLARD?

OU fullback Trey Millard is a hard-nosed, physical player who can block and run tough. He also has exceptional athletic ability, witness his hurdling of defenders on multiple occasions.

Does Millard ever think he belongs in another conference? A more rock-‘em, sock-‘em league?

“A little bit, when you see guys like (Eddie) Lacy from Alabama, those really big backs,” Millard said. “But not really. I've always been happy with what I've done here. Wouldn't take my decision back.”

MALENA: THE MAD HATTER

A&M tailback Ben Malena wears many hats. He started eight games and rushed for 752 yards. He's also on the kickoff unit and on the punt team, as a protector.

“This guy is crazy,” Sumlin said. “You would think a guy like him would like to return punts, but he wants to get out there and block. I'm extremely appreciative of his efforts.”

Malena said it's fun doing so many different things. “It is something I take pride in,” Malena said.

MANZIEL'S EYES HAVE IT

A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel scrambled his way to the Heisman Trophy. Manziel even has developed some chemistry with his receivers, who seem to know when the quarterback will tuck the ball and run.

“There is a distinct look in his eye that we kind of know, he is going to run this one,” said A&M receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu. “He is going to try to make a play with his feet. Ryan (Swope) and I definitely go try to look for people (to block).

“We always try to take account of who has the best hit or who is being more aggressive and things like that. We compete on that.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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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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