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Oklahoma football: Online report raises questions about NFL-bound Tony Jefferson

According to a controversial tidbit in a WalterFootball.com draft scouting report, OU coaches have told NFL scouts that Tony Jefferson had “horrible practice habits and a lack of work ethic in the weight room.”
by Jason Kersey Published: January 23, 2013

NORMAN — Oklahoma football enters another offseason clouded by questions stemming from a second straight season largely defined by subpar defense.

The blame has fallen on two coordinators — first Brent Venables, then Mike Stoops — lacking talent on the defensive line, too much schematic tinkering and a conference filled with fantastic quarterbacks directing spread offenses.

But one online report raised questions about the second-team All-America safety, considered one of Oklahoma's defensive leaders the past two seasons.

According to a controversial tidbit in a WalterFootball.com draft scouting report, OU coaches have told NFL scouts that former safety Tony Jefferson — who chose to skip his senior season and enter April's NFL Draft — had “horrible practice habits and a lack of work ethic in the weight room.”

A spokeswoman for Octagon Football, which represents Jefferson, declined The Oklahoman's request Wednesday for an interview.

Jefferson, though, unleashed a barrage of tweets Tuesday in response to the report.

“Also y'all be careful who y'all let pat you on the back,” read the final part of Jefferson's several- tweet response. “They could be patting you on ur back to find a soft spot, just to stab you in it!”

In response to an OU fan on Twitter, Jefferson said, “been a leader in the weightroom since I got there.”

To another Twitter user, he said, “Coaches hate me man. It's all good tho.”

Sooner coaches never once specifically criticized Jefferson's work ethic or commitment; to the contrary, Mike Stoops often praised Jefferson for playing most of last season on a badly sprained ankle.

For much of his sophomore season, Jefferson played with a sprained knee.

ESPN.com ranks Jefferson as the fifth-best safety prospect available in the 2013 draft. Last week on a conference call with reporters, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., said he expects Jefferson to be a second-round pick.

“I like the way he plays the game,” Kiper said. “He's got real good awareness. Real good instincts for the position. He's been a playmaker his whole career.”

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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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