OU discipline issues are not even close to previous seasons

Missing class, said Sooners defensive lineman David King, is “one of the dumbest things.”
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 19, 2012

NORMAN — David King had the same reaction every time heard about a teammate being suspended last season for missing class.

“That's one of the dumbest things,” the Oklahoma defensive lineman would think.

But it kept happening.

One Sooner after another missed too many classes, then had to pay the price by athletic department policy. Many sat out practice. Some even missed games.

“That was a big issue last year,” King said.

Sooners behaving badly became even bigger issue during the offseason and the preseason. Small cracks in discipline became a flood of suspensions. Jaz Reynolds. Trey Franks. Kameel Jackson. Quentin Hays. Stacy McGee. All were hit with indefinite suspensions.

Safe to say their transgressions were more severe than missing a few classes.

But as the Sooners find themselves once again in the hunt for a Big 12 title, those discipline problems are a thing of the past. No more suspensions. No more issues.

Why?

“It was a huge focus for the coaches and our team in the offseason,” receiver Kenny Stills said. “It was preached to us about going to class and doing the right things and staying out of trouble.”

But discipline is preached every year. Take care of your business. Go to class. Keep your nose clean.

I bet college football players hear a variation on those themes every day of the year.

The Sooners heard it last year, and they're hearing it this year. So, why did the message sink in this time around?

Credit the players.

Bob Stoops does, particularly his seniors who will be honored before their final home game on Saturday.

“They've really been a solid group with their attitude and their character,” the Sooner coach said. “They've maintained a really consistent and positive work attitude and been discipline off the field.”

He admits the internal standards for behavior slipped last season.

No doubt it started small with those missed classes, but when minor issues weren't taken seriously enough by the players, it opened the door to more egregious errors.

This season is different. Accountability is on the rise.

Evidence of that: Tony Jefferson's Twitter account after Saturday's defensive struggles at West Virginia.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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