mckenzie Open Post | Thursday, April 3rd

Image via scout.com

- It’s been a little over a week since we’ve done an open post and in that time, I’ve had a chance to catch up with a few people. And I know there are a few notes non-Twitter people may have missed, so here we go.

- First, we wanted to apologize for being a little behind on things these days. Not to get too persona,l since I’m sure most of you don’t care, but for those that do just a heads up on what we’ve been up to. I (K) have been working with some developers on ideas for the future of the website. And in my other work life, I’ll be in and out of the country this month…and the softball team I coach is first place…I’m the “it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big” Might Ducks type coach. I kid…sort of :).

JY has also been extremely busy the past month or so. He recently received a huge promotion in his company and made a move from KC to Chicago. So if you’re in Chicago, want to sit outside and watch the Sooners in his driveway/garage (for some reason he does that!), I’m officially inviting you to his place, haha. He’s even got a guest bedroom for folks who want to spend the night! But there will be a crying baby soon as well ;)

Yost has been traveling a lot and he just had a baby girl, Kenzie! Meanwhile, Ryan was training down in Dallas but is now back up in Michigan getting prepared for the season and feeling great! Ace was bringing you practice notes until someone tattled. And Jordan has been in the pocket helping us along the way!

- So last night I had a great conversation with DL Kahlil McKenzie. I’ve had some interaction with McKenzie before, but we really had a long talk last night. And not only is this young man talented, but he’s a special, special kid. Very similar in demeanor to Breiden Fehoko. Most of you remember the locker room issues our team had a few years back, and most of you know how important the team dynamic is to the success of any squad.

We’ve had an incredibly tight team this year (and last). This is something I know the staff is really happy about, and I’m sure wants to make a priority going forward. Guys like McKenzie and Fehoko are exactly the kind of players who can continue that. They are intelligent, kind-hearted, considerate, bring the lunch pail everyday kind of guys, who turn into animals on the field. As a matter of fact, I told McKenzie that he reminded me a lot of Gerald McCoy. He has a similar disposition, but can get after it on the field.

McKenzie seems to have a really good relationship with Oklahoma. I get the sense he is still in that looking around phase, but I also get the sense that the Sooners have a great chance of being there all the way to the end. He has ties to schools like Wisconsin (as most of you know, he grew up in Wisconsin), though I’m not sure how much of a player they are in his recruiting. I don’t know how much he’d want me to share on that front, so I’ll just leave it at that.

He also has ties to Tennessee since his father played there. I encouraged him to take an official to OU for the Tennessee game this year, haha. But I also get the real sense his family is really leaving this decision to him. He seems to love Norman, loves the tradition, and loves Coach Montgomery. He also seems to like the scheme. The way OU plays their odd front is much more enjoyable for a player than it is at a place like Alabama, for example.

- Related to the point above, McKenzie said he really wants to play with DB/WR Iman Marshall. Unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t have an Oklahoma offer (though he has an offer from just about every other school). If I’m Oklahoma, I am making that offer ASAP.

- The other interesting thing is Oklahoma has told McKenzie he can literally play anywhere on the line. He can play DE or he can play NG.

- Some of you might have seen that OLB/DE Marshall Bo Wallace received a Texas offer yesterday. While Wallace goes to school in Louisiana, he is originally from Texas. And if you’re like me, you might have assumed that Texas would immediately be his favorite following the offer. But I asked someone close to both him and his family, and the source told me that was not the case. In fact, they said he felt like the two schools that stand out to him right now are Texas A&M (who hasn’t offered yet) and Oklahoma. Wallace is an important prospect because, quite frankly, OU isn’t in on many pass rushing OLBs and that position is critical in our defense.

- Another critical position that really needs continued work is at the ILB position. We talked about LB Riley Garner last week, and he has recently visited Oklahoma. It appears OU isn’t quite ready to extend an offer, but the more I think about it the more I feel like we should. While he plays OLB now, last week I suggested that he could be a great ILB for us. He moves really well and is a legit 6’3″ 215 lbs, which probably means 6’3″ 225 lbs by the time he’s on campus.

We just haven’t had the real size we need inside, and I think he could bring it while still maintaining a great deal of athleticism. I spoke to him more after last week’s post, and he actually said he’s being recruited by Rice (who have offered) as an ILB. So it would appear I’m not crazy. By the way, Garner is a super smart young man. Another one of those guys who will bring a great vibe to the locker room and boost the overall team GPA in the process.

- Caught up with CB PJ Mbanasor last night as well, and OU continues to be in a good spot with him. He wants to make it in for the Oklahoma spring game, but he’s still waiting on confirmation for a ride. His teammate Samaje Perine is going to be at the spring game, but it appears their car is full or Mbanasor could have caught a ride with him.

- DB Jaylon Lane attended last week’s Friday Night Lights at Texas A&M (Roney Elam was there as well) and had a GREAT time. However, I still get the sense that Jaylon and his family aren’t comfortable with the TAMU defense. While TAMU has done a great job of marketing themselves (I can’t believe that Ag Swag sh*t caught on), I’ve come across more than one defensive prospect in Texas that are very concerned about playing in their defense. They are still pulling in talent, but I feel like if they don’t start playing some actual defense that “swag” isn’t going to be enough to skate on for too much longer.

Lane is going to be in Norman for a visit in a couple weeks. He wanted to come up for the spring game, but he has a scheduling conflict. Bottom line, in talking to Jaylon…Oklahoma has a legitimate shot with him as well. I’m telling y’all, OU may end up having to turn a top CB away this year. I know it’s too early to say that, but I haven’t seen this many top CBs this excited about OU in a while. Playing some defense and having some pass rushers on the field will do that.

- OU made a new 2015 DL offer to a kid, Kingsley Keke, that actually goes to school down the road from me. I’ve never seen him live, but I watched his film a couple months ago. I’ll have to try to make it up to the school and see where things stand with him.

- Also, OU recently made another 2016 DL offer. Last week it was Arkansas DL McTelvin Agim, who is high on OU. This time it was to Louisiana’s Rashard Lawrence, whose father actually said they plan on bringing him up to OU for the spring game. So we’ll have to keep an eye on that.

I asked around and it sounds like OU could be a player in his recruitment, but a friend of the family told me “if it comes down to OU vs. LSU, it’s going to be tough to win that one.” However, he also said OU needs to make early Louisiana DL offers because the 2016 DL class in “the boot” is packed, and LSU can’t take them all!

- Random non-OU note related to the “team chemistry” point above – was recently told that the OSU locker room is a little bumpy. I heard (though I haven’t substantiated it) that there have actually been a couple confrontations/fights between players. While I like what OSU is doing in terms of the talent they are recruiting, it’s not just about getting talent. I’ve got a source at OSU, and I’ve actually been thinking about writing a piece on OSU’s recruiting class, so perhaps I’ll be able to get more info on this front. I’m always interested in our rival schools.

- Kingfisher TE Jace Sternberger told me the other day that he has been invited to the Oklahoma spring game and plans on attending. Sternberger is actually a pretty athletic TE. If he had more film of him effectively blocking, he’d have some offers. He was originally asked to come to a practice, but interestingly the OU coaches told him they’d rather he come for the spring game. That’s a bit of a step up in terms of an invitation, which may indicate some seriousness on Oklahoma’s side. His teammate and a kid we love, OL Kaden Clay Jackson, will be at OSU this weekend. Really hoping he picks up an offer. He’s a player!


  • Sonny Schovanec

    Sloid, really solid. You guys need a raise.

    • Super K

      You are too kind coach! :)

      • Gary Robbins

        Excellent read-Info you can’t get any where else. OU’s Spring Game visitor’s list is really shaping up to be a grand slam- if they all show up. Maybe even a commit. Thanks for all your good work and TFB crew.

  • Sooner_Ace

    JY, welcome to Illinois, land of Lincoln….and really nothing else :) I kid..sort of… at least for those of us in this state south of I-80 :)

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      Copy that. Comin across 72 over to champagne and then up 57 is a lot of open lonely road man. Thanks for the welcome!

      • Sooner_Ace

        Tell me about it, I live in Champaign :)

  • Sooner Ray

    Good lord, a lot of info to take in this morning. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Hey JY, you’re going the wrong way, we’re a little more south. Who’s gonna keep an eye on Escoe in KC? can’t leave that guy alone for a second! :-)

    • Jordan Esco

      Party at my house this weekend!!!

      • Learguy

        You forget how close I am!!!! LOL!!!

        • Jordan Esco

          You’re always welcome ;)

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      Tellin ya man, there goes the neighborhood!

  • DrZemus

    Congrats on all the babies – they really have a way of changing priorities big time, don’t they.

    • Fear The Magic

      I agree. After OU football babies are the most important things in the world.

  • BigJoeBrown

    Great read, thanks. This is a refreshing. I can’t help get a bit nervous when you see these kid’s commiting already and OU has been standing at 5 for a while now. But it looks like everything is going really great, Thanks!

    • Zack

      I agree and the 5th guy hasn’t been very firm from what I’ve read. But I guess it’s a good thing that these kids didn’t overreact to the sugar bowl win and most of them want to see how the regular season goes for themselves as well as for ou. And the reason I say it’s a good thing is I think a lot of kids were crazy about what a&m has done which isn’t much and I think we will all find out those kids made a mistake in going to a program that hasn’t been that great and may not have staying power. A lot of the best prospects are still out there so I’m not too worried.

  • Adrian

    My little brother goes to Heritage Hall and their (Kingfisher) whole Offensive Line had solid blocking when they played them. Couldn’t always get a lot of penetration and the scheme is simple so their fundamentals were pretty solid.

  • Bob Browning

    “The way OU plays their odd front is much more enjoyable for a player than it is at a place like Alabama, for example.”
    Why is that the case(more enjoyable for a DL in OU’s odd front)? It seems like a 3-man line would mean you are getting hit by double teams more frequently.

    • JD

      I was wondering the same thing. Didn’t quite understand what was meant by that statement.

    • Zack

      I think we all are like huh? But I’m sure there’s different nuances and maybe OU pass rushes more than Alabama.

      • Super K

        Sorry for the confusion bud. Capt explained it pretty well. The OU Ends are in a sense 2-gapping in that they will make plays in the C gap but their PRIMARY gap is the B gap. They have a technique where they can make a play in their secondary gap but it’s not that pure 2 gap style you see at Alabama that DLinemen hate. I call it a 1 gap even though that probably isn’t completely accurate but I feel like it’s more accurate than saying it’s a 2 gap.

        • Zack

          Thanks. See that’s why we like this site because you won’t hear anywhere else what recruits are looking at as far as flaws at Alabama. You guys give us real info about what goes through a recruits mind. If you ask others why someone chose OU over Alabama they would simply write it off as Alabama didn’t really want the kid.

        • L’carpetron Dookmarriot

          Their 3-4 LB (e.g., Hubbard) and “regular” LBs (e.g., Hightower, DePreist, and Mosley) get most of the sacks. Not terribly glorious for a DL.

    • captfoss

      The scheme that OU runs on the line is primarily a single-gap responsibility. The defensive lineman’s job is to aggressively hit his gap, and try to get the football.

      There was a video last season of Montgomery running a drill, and just absolutely getting after guys for trying to read-react the plays like they did in 2012 when they had a two-gap scheme.

      Hit your gap, get the ball. They have to fight through a double-team more often than not, but, they don’t have to think… that fits the mentality of a defensive lineman perfectly. If they wanted to think, they’d be offensive linemen.

      • Bob Browning

        Ahh – makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

  • RhinoSooner

    High quality work as usual! Keep up the good work. Really enjoy reading your posts

  • Doobie74OU

    Who here is from Texas sounds like CB PJ Mbanasor needs a ride to the Spring Game any volunteers! :) Great Post as always guys!

    • Super K

      Was thinking the same thing when he told me LOL!

  • JJsooner1

    Finally back on here!! Been setting up a new network and working out the kinks and its rockin:-) Great to know chemistry is so good. One or two bad apples……… Thanks for a great update guys!!

    • Super K

      Glad to have you back! :)

  • Indy_sooner

    Congrats all around brainiacs and welome to the Midwest, JY. Perhaps a road trip is in order as it gets warmer.

  • John

    Wow! This place just keeps getting better. You guys are way out in front of OUI and Rivals. Thanks for your efforts and in-depth reporting! Much appreciated.

  • Jordan Esco

    Man, between Oregon and now A&M (among others) I hope the powers that be at OU have some BIG things planned for these soon-to-be announced (we hope) renovations.

    My fear is they do not (at least not as “big” as I’m hoping for). Would LOVE to be proved wrong.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/the-projections-for-texas-a-m-s-renovated-football-complex-look-awesome–photos-174642564.html

    • Indy_sooner

      Agreed. It would at least be in their interest to address their intentions as far as improving facilities is concerned. Just leaving it up for speculation does us no favors. Heck look at all the attention the rendering with the closed south end got.

    • SoonerPhins

      I can’t wait to see the new Trophy roo…. Oh… nevermind….

    • Sooner Ray

      Looks like they just copied the OU model.

    • Stephen

      How can a kid say no to that?

  • Shelby is a Patriot

    The future is bright for the Oklahoma Defense, assuming recruiting goes well.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

    “(I can’t believe that Ag Swag sh*t caught on)”

    I can. This is how young people raised on social media, reality shows, and Kardashians really are. Celebrity ‘shiny object’ culture without having done anything to be a celebrity speaks to kids who are into selfies, and see themselves as celebrities because of all the likes, shares, re-tweets, internet girlfriends, and hits they get on facebook, tweeterz, and instagram.
    None of it is real, but if everybody’s faking it and it’s all about image, who cares? That’s why ATM’s sh*tty, unjustified “swagger” campaign is actually brilliant. They’ve made themselves into a preening “shiny object” and the kids don’t care if they’ve earned it or not. They wanna be shiny too.

    • Zack

      Agreed. But that’s why I think we will see it back fire on a&m the kids they’re getting think things are gonna be handed to them.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

        Maybe, maybe not. This is just another manifestation of what I call “the Oregon model” and it has worked for every team that has tried it with varying levels of success (Oregon, ATM, Ok State, Mizzou). Be flashy and fake it till you make it, regardless of your actual history…..

        • Zack

          Yeah you’re right a lot of those teams have done a lot of flashy stuff. We will still have to see if it works out in the long run and it may since there is more parody than the was up until 10 years ago. But Oregon does have a nice hook with nike being one of their biggest boosters. All these schools have a guy out there with money who’s willing to help put the school on the map. The question is can the school stay there.

        • Super K

          Good point but Oregon plays some defense at times. In fact they’re defense is very fast and athletic. DBs are very alarmed by the development of CBs at TAMU. I’ve talked to multiple Texas recruits that feel that way. If they don’t start playing D…it’s gonna catch up with them IMO. Kids may love shiny things…but they’re pretty savvy as well.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

            Yeah I’ve heard that too. I think Steven Parker mentioned that as being part of the reason he chose Oklahoma as well.

        • L’carpetron Dookmarriot

          “Johnathan” Manziel.

    • Gary Robbins

      Agree. It seems to me that it’s what have you done for me lately. A&M is the hot thing for the time being !!! Heisman Trophy winner, recently beat Oklahoma and Alabama, spending lots of money on upgrades, didn’t their coach fly in on a helicopter to visit a recruit- give me a break! Also Baylor has a new stadium, and Kansas State is suppose to announce a 50 million dollar upgrade at their Spring game, it’s a never ending keep up with the Jones’s so to speak. In the long run the best thing is to just keep winning and OU can do that. Go OU…

      • ND52

        How a young man can pick College Station over Austin, the DFW metroplex or even Waco is beyond me. Not a fan of any of the Texas schools but come on now………….

    • EasTex

      It’s also what they watch on television, like this Sunday at the Texas Motor Speedway.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

        Welp……Gordon just doomed himself to finish middle of the pack and he doesn’t even know it.

        • EasTex

          Aggies will be mesmerized by the “shiny” car with their name on it, whether it slams into the wall or finishes back in the pack.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

            And they’ll still land a 5* LB.

      • Stephen

        With that, a lot of their games are nationally broadcast on ESPN(along with the rest of the SEC), nothing is more appealing than the national spotlight week in and week out. Big 12 NEEDS to do something to help it’s schools build hype.

      • Shelby is a Patriot

        Well, I know who isn’t going on my NASCAR fantasy team this Sunday.

  • Jordan Esco
    • Jordan Esco

      Believe he has also mentioned an official to tOSU, which would make two of his five allowed officials.

      • cpearc00

        Although anything’s possible in the recruiting world, at this point I would be pleasantly shocked if he decides to take an official to Norman.

  • Ryan

    We landed Courtney Garnett, the DL from LA. No reason we can’t land more of his caliber from there!

  • Daryl
    • Jordan Esco

      Nice, good find.

      • Daryl

        Actually it was total luck. I just happened to look at twitter like 5 minutes after he posted. TFB or my brother always always have all the information days before me. So needless to say my brother is going to hear about this one time for years.

        • Jordan Esco

          And now, just like Ford, it has been taken down, lol.

    • Sooner Ray

      Someone will be running the stadium if Bob sees these practice clips.

    • EasTex

      DANG!
      I’ve never seen Ford react that way to a hit before. Usually it is the other guy’s head that is knocked back.

      • pitbull17

        Yeah that was a big time pop. He caught Ford trying to move to the side and laid the wood before he could plant his feet.

    • blac1819

      Look at tapper take on the FB. Then trow him like a rag doll .
      The fb got his block tho

      • Daryl

        I think that is actually Geneo Grissom not Tapper

  • Jordan Esco
    • EasTex

      Sure glad he is finally going to visit the campus.

    • Sooner Ray

      There’s some good news!

  • soonermusic

    Totally down with your comments about locker room chemistry. I think Stoops made it clear a couple of years ago that he was making team attitude a necessary priority and after a bit of house cleaning and getting the message out, it seems to have made a visible difference.

  • Stephen

    Any thoughts on the new BIG 12 logo rolling out here in a couple months? Or any other BIG 12 news such as getting more schools in the conference?

    • Jordan Esco

      Meh, re: the logo.

      Expansion does not appear to be happening anytime soon. I mean who even out there is attractive enough to want to add?

      • Stephen

        Reading around, I’ve only heard people consider BYU and Louisville. In my opinion, I would enjoy having BYU or Louisville, but only if we could add another big name school to hold down the Big 12 north for a competitive Big 12 championship each year.

        • Jordan Esco

          They’d have to really pony up to get Louisville since they just switched conferences.

  • http://thefootballbrainiacs.com JrsySooner

    Awesome, BTW I noticed in the photo that his truck, or paretns for that matter does have tire locks, please contact Landy Jones in care of the Pittsburg Steelers for more information…
    Nothing like reading the Bible in the am before work, the Brainiac Bible that is..