Q&A: Sooners Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson growing together on the field and off
NORMAN — They both grew up around San Diego. They came to OU together. They live together. They both love Twitter. Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson seem to have as close a friendship as two college football players could have. But it wasn't always that way.
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DUO THEY MOST RESEMBLE
Luke Skywalker & Han Solo
The San Diego products are “Star Wars” headliners.
Stills is Han Solo, a dynamic wide receiver who produces highlight-reel plays. He likes to talk big. At times he can be a little controversial. Stills would enjoy being captain of the Millennium Falcon and hanging with someone like Chewie.
Jefferson goes by the book, plays fundamentally sound but the nickel back delivers hard hits. Jefferson is a cerebral player who would pick Yoda's brain to improve his play on the field.
FROM THE COACH
Assistant coach Jay Norvell on wide receivers
“We are talented, but we are still so young. We're just scratching the surface of how good we can be… Ryan (Broyles) is kind of at the top end, then you've got four or five guys that are really just learning they can do special things. So that part of it is really exciting because every day we go out we're kind of tapping into new limits of what we can be. When everybody starts firing on all cylinders then we really have something special.”
OU RECEIVER DYNAMIC DUO
Tinker Owens & Billy Brooks, 1973-75
Owens (70) and Brooks (24) combined for just 94 catches in their careers. They had just 17 combined as seniors in 1975. Ryan Broyles alone had 15 against Iowa State last season.
But Owens and Brooks were fabulous receivers in an era of little Sooner passing.
Both made all-American as seniors and were among the greatest big-play producers in OU history.
Owens averaged 26.5, 22.9 and 25.3 yards per catch his final three seasons. Brooks averaged 26.2, 25.1 and 22.8 his three OU seasons.
For good measure, they combined for seven rushing touchdowns (Brooks four, Owens three) on reverses.
In Bob Stoops' offense, they would have been a national sensation. In Barry Switzer's offense, they were something even rarer. Difference-maker wide receivers.
WR POSITION ANALYSIS
A question mark a year ago, the Sooners have one of the best receiving corps in the country. Ryan Broyles might set records that will never be broken. Kenny Stills set freshmen records. Trey Franks would start for many teams. Senior Dejuan Miller is 100 percent recovered from a knee injury. Jaz Reynolds is back on track. True freshman Kameel Jackson impressed during fall camp.
Unit grade: A
An All-American and several talented young receivers that will continue to improve.
What kind of relationship do you have?
Stills: Tony and I weren't always so tight. There were days when we stayed in the dorms when we first got here that we didn't say anything to each other. But now, it's rough for me to go a day without seeing him now. We went through so much, workouts and improving each other — we have high expectations of each other. That's huge in a friendship.
How is it going against each other in practice?
Jefferson: During the summer to now, I end up covering Kenny a lot in practice. I actually got a pick covering him and I was talking crap to him later on that day, so it was funny. I don't cover him all the time, but when it happens, it happens, and whoever wins, we're obviously gonna talk trash to each other.
Stills: I was in the slot and I ran an out route. Landry (Jones) kind of threw the ball behind me. Tony undercut it and I had to chase his butt down. There's always a lot of fun when both of us are out there going against each other. I'm trying to make him improve and that's what he's doing for me.
What should people know about the two of you?
Jefferson: We just have that relationship where it's like two brothers. I annoy him sometimes and he annoys me, but whatever. I've been living with him since I got here. We went through the recruiting thing with each other.
Stills: I feel like everybody knows everything about Tony if you follow him on Twitter. He's a big Justin Bieber fan.