NORMAN — David King's toes wiggled beneath his socks as his booming voice filled the room.
The heels of his size 15 feet rested on the hardwood floor of the team's meeting room as King answered questions.
Those “boats,” as King called them, have helped him push 300-pound linemen off their feet, and they've been on the field as Oklahoma's defense has allowed only three first-half touchdowns this season.
His feet also are well-groomed. Something Sooner fans might not know about this defense is that besides taking care of offenses on the field, they take pride in taking care of their feet. That means that they really like getting pedicures.
Oklahoma has been talked about as a finesse team because of its solid defensive backfield and no-huddle offense, but the Sooners also have been criticized for their inability to shut down games in the second half of losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame.
The Sooners don't have a player who ranks in the top 20 nationally in sacks or tackles for loss.
But their toughness isn't something they think should be questioned, even if almost the entire defensive line has gone to get pedicures together. Sometimes cornerback Aaron Colvin joined them. It's a team bonding thing.
The Sooners don't do it often. Just after “heavy football,” like fall camp. They see it as a celebration, a treat for being done.
“I'm not going to lie,” King said. “It's relaxing.”
But they do think about it during the season. On Oct. 16, Chuka Ndulue tweeted “Awwww I need a pedicure dawwwwggg.”
Even some offensive players take time to take care of their feet. Back in September, wide receiver Justin Brown tweeted a picture of him getting a pedicure along with “Gotta get my feet right … Don't judge me.”
Some have questioned the toughness of OU's front seven this season. They Sooners have lost two games to teams (Kansas State and Notre Dame) that are more physical up front, but tackle Jamarkus McFarland said he saw it as a fight to the fourth quarter.
“They're two of the teams that are still undefeated right now, ranked in the top five of the BCS standings,” McFarland said. “That's a respectable loss. We played well again both of them. … They fought harder, fought longer, and they got the win.”
And this isn't just something that started with this year's defense. King said it's something that plenty of players from OU have done. After fall camp ended last season, King said he went for pedicures with former players Frank Alexander, Donald Stephenson and current player R.J. Washington.
“My favorite place is the one by the Super Target over there by Buffalo Wild Wings,” King said. “That's where I go. I just watch them laugh at my feet because they're so big.”
Not all the players on the defense join in. Linebacker Corey Nelson said he thought it was kind of weird.
“It's like they're going on a date with each other,” Nelson said. “I wouldn't agree with it. I'd probably go with my girlfriend if I was them.”
As each one of the players talked about the calluses being scraped from the bottom of their tough feet, none of them giggled or acted like it was something embarrassing. When defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was asked if he knew what his defense was doing, he said “no” a couple of times.
Then he continued, “I probably should have went with them. I need mine.”
When King goes, he orders the deluxe package where they put a hot towel across the feet. His feet are so large, the ladies who were working on them just began to laugh.
King said when he goes he doesn't do any other kind of massages. Despite the fact that his hands grab onto the jerseys of defender and rip through grass, he doesn't get manicures, calling that “too much.”
But if you're giggling while reading this or judging King and the defense for letting ladies touch their nasty, hard feet, King said he really doesn't care.
“I'm comfortable with my masculinity that I can admit that I get pedicures from time to time,” King said. “But I don't do any of the toe paintings.”