NORMAN — Quincy Russell chose to sign with Oklahoma last December because he knew the Sooners would have an immediate need for defensive tackles in 2013.
“His final two were Nebraska and Oklahoma,” said Brad Smiley, Russell's coach at Trinity Valley Community College. “Both of them have major needs on the defensive line. That's how Quincy really got down to his final two. He was looking at the opportunity to go in and fight for a starting job.”
Now that he's finally arrived on campus, Russell can begin battling for that job on a Sooners defensive line lacking in depth and experience.
Russell (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) originally planned to join his new team in January, but academic issues continually held up his move to Norman through the spring, summer and then the first few weeks of fall training camp.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops regularly expressed optimism that Russell would make it, but concerns grew as his delayed arrival began reminding many of last August, when junior-college signees Courtney Gardner and Will Latu, a receiver and offensive tackle, respectively, never showed up.
With Oklahoma's season opener against Louisiana-Monroe just two weeks away, though, how much can reasonably be expected from Russell, at least early in the season?
Stoops said he doesn't expect the newcomer to take long adapting in his new environment.
“I don't want to say it's easy to learn, but basically it's just about technique and the learning part of it, what he needs to do, he'll learn that fairly quickly,” Stoops said. “From what we understand visiting with him and people he's worked with, he's worked really hard and is in really good shape. If that's the case, he'll pick it up rather quickly.”
That's the hope of everyone in Sooner Nation, which remains greatly concerned about its defensive line, and particularly the tackles.