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The Odd Couple: Calmus, Williams play critical roles on Sooners’ big-play defense

By George Schroeder Published: August 18, 2001
NORMAN It's fitting they collaborated on the Orange Bowl's most important play.

Rocky Calmus poked the football loose. Roy Williams gobbled it up. Two plays later, a touchdown all but sealed Oklahoma's seventh national championship.

If OU is to make a run at an eighth, Calmus, a senior linebacker with a knack for making plays, and Williams, a big-hitting, junior strong safety, will play important roles. They appear up to the challenge.

"They're both as good as there is out there, OU co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "At their positions, I don't think there's a better player anywhere in the country.

Both could be headed for national honors. Calmus, who was an All-American last year, is a preseason favorite for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's best linebacker. Williams, a first-team all-conference selection in 2000, is a potential All-American this season.

Both say they don't care about individual honors.

"I love football, but I don't need the attention, said Williams, echoing an oft-heard Calmus sentiment.

On the field, neither is really vocal certainly nothing like former Sooner linebacker Torrance Marshall's blue-streak motivational rants of a year ago.

But that's fine.

"They're our leaders, Stoops said. "They're our most steady players and our most experienced players, as well.

"We'd like them to be a little more vocal. We'd like them to be spiritual leaders and leaders by example. But the way they play is the way they lead our team.

"Nobody practices harder, nobody prepares harder, nobody plays harder. That's enough. We don't need a bunch of cheerleaders.

Both Calmus and Williams, according to sophomore defensive end Dan Cody, "bring hat.

It's one of the highest compliments he could bestow. Essentially, it means Calmus and Williams hit hard. But there's a hard-nosed, smash-mouthed attitude wrapped around the phrase.

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