Oklahoma linebacker Tom Wort was featured this week in The Guardian, the popular English newspaper. Wort, who went to high school in Texas, is from England originally.
“Starting to get some recognition back home, it's kind of been a dream of mine,” Wort said. “I know American football's starting to pick up over there. It's something I'd like to encourage, young guys over there playing football.”
Wort has 66 tackles in 11 games at middle linebacker this season, and he returned a fumble for a score against Ball State.
Here's an entertaining passage from Wort's story: “Oklahoma University is traditionally one of the most storied college sides and their set up, from the cavernous changing facilities and trophy room to their 85,000 capacity stadium, are easily the equal of many European professional soccer clubs. But the college has struggled to live up to expectations in recent years and the 2010-11 season ended on a sour note when bitter local rivals, Oklahoma State, comprehensively defeated the Sooners in the traditional end of season ‘Bedlam' derby.”
The Sooners look to comprehensively defeat Iowa on Friday in the Insight Bowl.
RECEIVERS FOCUS ON MINIMIZING DROPPED PASSES
Oklahoma was plagued by dropped passes late in the season after consistently catching most passes during an 8-1 start. The Sooners had six dropped passes, alone, in the first half against Oklahoma State.
“After that game, coaches talked to us about discipline and character,” sophomore Kenny Stills said. “A lot of drops came from little things like looking the ball in (to your hands).
“On tape, the ball is right there, but a guy would be looking the other way. That's what we've been trying to improve on.”
OU will be without two of its top receivers, Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds, in the bowl due to injuries.
SOONERS GET A BREATHER BEFORE BOWL
Thursday was the first of three days off for the Sooners, who have been released to spend time with their families before convening Sunday in Oklahoma or Phoenix. There's a meeting scheduled for the team once it arrives in Arizona.
The players are valuing the time off.
“My sister has been gone in the Army,” sophomore Tony Jefferson said. “This Christmas will be the first time we've been together as a family in three or four years. I'm looking forward to being home. It will be fun.”
Asked about his favorite gift as a kid, Jefferson said: “We didn't have much money, so we chilled as a family and watched movies. The greatest gift is being with my family.”
CLAY FINALLY FEELS HEALTHY AGAIN
Sophomore running back Brennan Clay was the starter the first four games, but has been limited to 66 carries and 230 yards. Hampered by a pinched nerve in his neck, he said he's finally over the injury.
Why did it take so long?
“It's nerves. It's not a muscle with therapy,” Clay said. “I guess, with nerve endings, it just takes time. We bang almost every day, so I guess it never got a chance to settle down. Every time it got triggered by a big hit it would bother me. But I feel great. I feel 100 percent.”
Good thing. Clay and another sophomore, Roy Finch, are the only healthy, available tailbacks with experience for OU.