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Auston English Q&A
On Sale at Newstands Oct. 2
All-America candidate talks about football, school, life
Once a relative unknown from the Texas Panhandle town of Canadian, Auston English began changing that description when he earned a starting job for Oklahomaís defense in the 2007 season opener. A couple of months and 9.5 sacks later, the sophomore had experienced a breakout season and set himself up as the Soonersí next All-American defensive linemen.
English has experienced some ups and downs since that time. He actually missed three games last season due to a broken leg, and then had an emergency appendectomy just a few days before preseason practice began this fall.
But through the first three games of 2008, the junior has proven he is fully recovered and poised for a huge season. English racked up 2.5 sacks in the Soonersí season-opening victory and followed that up with a solid performance against Cincinnati, giving some credence to being named the Big 12 Conferenceís preseason player of the year.
Sooner Spectator caught up with English recently to chat about what itís like being in the spotlight and the pressures he faces heading into his junior season.
Sooner Spectator: What are your thoughts about being named the Big 12 Conferenceís preseason player of the year? Did you pay much attention when it happened?
Auston English: Not really, I really donít pay much attention to that stuff. Itís just preseason, and thatís about all it is. Itís nice to know those things ó obviously somebody cares about you, I guess. But itís preseason and you have a lot you have to do to prove those things.
SS: There are a lot of people forecasting a big season from the defensive line. Does that surprise you at all?
English: I would say itís a group effort. You have got to have all four guys ready to go get it. You put everyone in a bind if you just have one without the other. We can double team and do different things like that, which is definitely an advantage to us this year.
SS: What kind of numbers did you have in mind? Were you looking for more tackles, more sacks or what?
English: I didnít set numbers. Iíve never really been a big numbers guy. I knew going that if we played in what, 13 games, if we got the Big 12 championship and another for a BCS bowl game, I would have a lot of opportunities. If you can get the quarterback a couple times a game, youíd have some pretty big sack totals. But numbers, I never really put a number on it.
I wanted to always be consistent ó thatís the most important thing. You have to be where youíre supposed to be. I didnít want to be somebody that was always making mental errors. Those are the kind of things that I really focused on last season.
SS: Do you have some goals other than numbers?
English: I do. I think numbers get in the way of you thinking clearly. Plays are drawn for each person to do a job. If you do what youíre supposed to do, someone will make a play. Not every play is there for you to make. But you can mess thinks up if you donít do your job. If you think about numbers you donít see the whole picture.
SS: Where does that come from? Just about every sport is centered around numbers.
English: You can only play whatís in front of your face. (Defensive ends coach Chris) Wilson talks about it all the time. As soon as you look in the backfield, youíre going to get punched in the face by a tackle or cut or something. You play whatís in front of you.Ē
SS: How has life changed for since last season? Do you find yourself being noticed more around campus?
English: Not really. I havenít really noticed anything. I donít think I really stand out much.
SS: Do you kind of find that kind of odd? Why do you think thatís the case?
English: I think itís because Iím kind of quiet. I really prefer to just keep to myself. Iíve never been the kind of person that craves attention or tries to stand out.
SS: Did you enter last season expecting to put up the kind of numbers you did?
English: Iíd hoped I could. I just wanted to be productive and do my job every day. You always have your own personal goals and I didnít meet all of mine. But I got close.
SS: When did you notice opposing offenses paying more attention to you last season?
English: It never really happened, or at least it wasnít to the point that I really noticed. It might have happened a little bit here and there, but never was never anything that was over the top.
SS: Go back to the 2007 Texas A&M game when suffered that leg injury. What happened there?
English: It was real weird. In the A&M game, I was making a tackle and my leg kind of whipped around and hit somebody elseís. It happens all the time and I didnít think it was a big deal when it happened. I just thought I kind of bruised it. I thought I could walk it off, but there was really a sharp pain. We got it X-rayed and there was that little crack. We thought I would be back pretty soon, but it wound up breaking all the way and it strung out to a longer deal.
(Editor's Note: This is just a portion of the Q&A that appears in the Sept. 18 issue of Sooner Spectator. Read it all and a whole lot more by subscribing to Sooner Spectator. Call toll free today (1-877-841-8877 or go to our homepage and subscribe on-line!)