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Boomer Bio: Stephen Good
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Sooner Offensive Lineman Will Play Key Role In 2009
The fact that the college football world will be watching and scrutinizing basically every move he makes this season is not lost on Stephen Good. The sophomore guard understands it’s just part of being a member of a Oklahoma’s retooled offensive line, one that many believe holds the potential key to a national championship.
As for Good, he welcomes the spotlight. And he believes the Sooners’ new-look O-line is equipped to shoulder any additional pressure that comes its way, now or at any point during the 2009 campaign.
“The reason people are focused on our offensive line is because there are some new faces up there, and that always creates questions,” said Good, a 6-foot-6, 294-pounder from Paris, Texas. “I don’t necessarily think that creates more pressure because we know everyone in our rotation is capable of getting the job done. We definitely lost some good players from last year’s team, but people just have to realize that we have good players stepping into those spots.
“I think every new guy we have up there is ready to take on the challenge in front of us.”
Good must certainly be considered one of the “new” guys this season, despite the fact he played in seven games as a true freshman last fall. Most of that was merely mop-up duty. This time around, Good and company will be thrown directly into the fray, with wins and losses hanging in the balance.
With only one full-time starter returning up front — Trent Williams at left tackle — questions about how much time quarterback Sam Bradford will have to pass and how much room OU’s talented stable of running backs will have to roam remain prevalent.
Until Good and fellow sophomore Ben Habern, along with junior Cory Brandon and some other young muscle, validate themselves as battle-tested replacements in the trenches, skepticism will prevail.
Williams, for one, believes the youthful supporting cast surrounding himself and fellow senior Brian Simmons is more than up to the task at hand, especially Good.
“You can see all of our guys getting better every day. They are working hard, taking extra snaps and making sure they prepare themselves every step of the way,” explained Williams, a projected first-round NFL draft pick who opted to return to play another season with the Sooners back in January.
“As for Stephen, he’s not a guy who is going to accept failure. He has the best work ethic that I’ve seen during my time at OU and that says a lot about him. Stephen has dedicated himself and I believe he’s ready to make that big step up this season.”
Ranked as the No. 29 overall player in the country his senior season at Paris High School, Good was wooed by practically every major D-I program. But when the dust of a long recruiting season settled, Good opted to go north to become a Sooner. It’s a decision he has never second guessed.
“Nothing against Texas, but when I went down there, I didn’t like Austin all that much. Nothing really clicked for there, especially the way it did with the coaches here at OU,” Good noted. “When I visited Norman, I loved it. It’s bigger than Paris, but it doesn’t feel that much bigger. It’s just a great college town and a school with a great football tradition.”
Good settled in nicely his first year in the program, learning the system while at the same time dealing with the reality that he could no longer get by on just the brute strength that carried him to prep All-America status.
With a year of experience under his belt, Good feels he has come a long way.
“Totally, it’s like night and day. I have matured so much over the last year, it’s hard to believe,” he said. “Once you realize how hard you have to work to make it at this level, it becomes part of you. I went against (Gerald McCoy) every day and he’s one of the best players in the nation. If that doesn’t get me ready, nothing will.”
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson has obviously kept a close watch on the development of OU’s O-line, and he has high hopes for Good and company this season.
“You can see Stephen working hard to get better every day,” added Wilson. “He’s still got a ways to go to reach his full potential, but you can say that about any young player. Stephen is definitely a guy who’s going to play a huge role with this team at right guard and in a secondary role potentially as a backup center.”
(Editor's Note: Read the rest of this feature in the August issue of Sooner Spectator. To subscribe in time to get the entire season delivered to your doorstep, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)