Travis Lewis takes on role of leader, entertainer for Sooners

By Jake Trotter, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: July 29, 2010 at 9:13 am •  Published: July 28, 2010

IRVING, Texas — His whole life, Travis Lewis has been the entertainer.

Sometimes, too much the entertainer.

""I've always been the entertainer of the family, making them laugh," Lewis recalled. "I was a bad little kid, getting into too much trouble. In second grade. ... I actually bit the principal."

By middle school, Lewis had grown out of being a troublemaker. And a biter. But he never stopped being an entertainer. A personality trait by which Lewis, Oklahoma's junior linebacker, now leads his team.

"Travis, he's entertaining," coach Bob Stoops said during OU's turn at Big 12 media days Wednesday. "He's a great competitor, though. It's one thing to be entertaining without being a great competitor. I'm not much for that. He's what you want in how he works and his toughness and attitude in playing and taking it seriously. But he also, when it's time for somebody to chuckle, he's quick to do it."

During a tumultuous 2009 season, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy showed just how important an emotional, but fun-loving leader can be.

The Sooners could have crumbled after losing quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury, but instead won their final two games to salvage the season.

McCoy's platform to call out his teammates while also reminding them that football is supposed to be fun helped keep the team together.

A three-year starter and preseason All-Big 12 selection, Lewis has a similar platform. And a similar personality.

"That's me. Make players love football. I love that," said Lewis, who showed up to media days donning a fro-hawk (half Afro, half mohawk). "I want to spread that to the other players. Make them remember why they're playing this game. Go out there and not just be the voice of the coaches, but have fun with the guys."

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