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Seahawks offensive line coach talks big when describing Russell Okung

56,000 words of Super Bowl transcripts, and ‘spectacular' was said just once. And that was Seattle assistant coach Tom Cable describing the former Oklahoma State standout.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 29, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. — Spectacular. That's the word Tom Cable used to describe Russell Okung.

Spectacular.

NFL coaches don't talk much like that. Don't throw around glowing words like candy at a parade. Effective, maybe. Quality. Excellent, even.

But spectacular?

I went through 56,000 words of Super Bowl transcripts. I found no other spectaculars. No amazings or fantastics. No magnificents or marvelouses. No sensationals or splendids.

I found an unbelievable; Russell Wilson talking about Peyton Manning.

But here was the Seahawk offensive line coach talking about his left tackle. And talking big.

“A spectacular player, in my opinion,” Cable said. “When Russ has been healthy, he's been exceptional.”

Only trouble is, Okung hasn't always been healthy, since being taken sixth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, out of OSU.

A high ankle sprain cost him six games his rookie year. A torn pectoral muscle benched him four games in 2011. A torn ligament in his big toe this season limited Okung to eight games.

But in 2012, Okung missed only one game and made the Pro Bowl. And how he's on a bigger stage.

Of the stars from the Oklahoma-dominated 2010 draft — OU's Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall), Gerald McCoy (No. 3), Trent Williams (No. 4) and Jermaine Gresham (No. 21); OSU's Okung and Dez Bryant (No. 24) — Okung is the first to reach the Super Bowl, on Sunday against the Broncos.

“It's a blessing to be picked where I was and to have people believe in me the way they did,” Okung said. “I just want to do the best with my opportunity. It's a privilege, and I wake up every morning and I thank God for it.”

Okung is like a lot of us. He didn't see this coming until his junior year in Stillwater. The Cowboy coaches seemed to deliver out of the blue the news that they had a big-time player on their hands. It sort of hit Okung that way, too.

“It was my junior year when people were telling me I have a chance to go to the NFL,” Okung said. “I was just doing it (football) because I loved it.”

He had no idea where he would be drafted. “I just wanted to play football, and wherever the chips fell, I was fine.”

The chips fell in Seattle, where Okung has an offensive lineman's dream. A physical running game — tailback Marshawn Lynch is a total beast — and a mobile quarterback (Wilson) who can evade a pass rush.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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