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OU linebacker Tom Wort improved, more confident as a sophomore

Sooner linebacker ranks fifth on the team in tackles despite injuries.
By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, Modified: November 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm •  Published: November 3, 2011

— When opposing quarterbacks pump faked, Tom Wort sometimes overreacted.

That was Tom Wort the redshirt freshman middle linebacker thrust into the starting lineup a year ago.

The sophomore version of Tom Wort that coach Bob Stoops and others raved about during two-a-days is vastly improved.

“You can see on film I'm a lot more confident player,” Wort said. “Last year I'd bite on play-action. This year I can see the formation, know what to expect and recognize what the linemen are doing, which makes pass coverage that much easier.”

Wort ranks fifth on the team with 41 tackles despite sitting out the Texas Tech game with a concussion and sitting out the second half against Kansas (concussion) and Texas (back).

“He's played great (in) coverage, (run defense), everything,” Stoops said. “He's had a really good year. ... He's improved in every area.”

Wort didn't play in the 41-38 loss to Texas Tech two weeks ago. He had to sit out after he suffered a concussion the previous week at Kansas on a kickoff.

“I went blank,” Wort said. “I didn't pass out, but I really don't remember what happened the second half of that game.”

A few days later, Wort felt much better. The following Thursday, two days before the Tech game, doctors informed Wort they wanted him to sit out one game.

“I was hoping to play, but I didn't get cleared,” Wort said. “Having to watch is the hardest thing. The worst thing you can do is make me watch.”

It was a hard game to watch. Texas Tech compiled 572 yards, 452 through the air.

But OU's defense is healthy for a revealing matchup Saturday afternoon against high-powered Texas A&M.

Wort should play against the Aggies, the most balanced offense the Sooners will see all season.

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