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Stacy McGee Q&A
OU defensive lineman talks about football and more

Coming into the 2010 season, Stacy McGee’s stat sheet at Oklahoma required very little ink. After redshirting as a true freshman, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive lineman saw brief action in two games a year ago and recorded a single tackle.

Not exactly the numbers McGee hoped to produce when he signed with OU as a highly-touted prospect out of Muskogee (Okla.), where he was the team’s defensive player of the year and recorded 98 tackles a senior. But while playing in the shadow of All-American Gerald McCoy, McGee watched and learned.

Now in his third season with the program, he is putting all of that knowledge to use as he emerges as a vital piece of the Sooners’ defensive puzzle. In a 27-24 win over Air Force, McGee racked up a career-high eight tackles.

Sooner Spectator recently sat down with McGee to get his thoughts on the season, former teammates and other aspects of his collegiate experience.

Sooner Spectator: Even though it’s early, you seem to be having a breakthrough season. How do you feel about your performance so far in 2010?

Stacy McGee: I feel like I have been doing pretty good. I surprised myself by as far as actually getting on the field. It’s what I expected, but it’s not what I expected going into the college level. I guess I intimidated myself by thinking it was more (difficult) than it really is.

SS: You got the first start of your career against Florida State in the second week of the season. How big was that for you?

McGee: I was really supposed to be starting at the beginning of the season, but I had a couple of bad practices. I had been producing in the games, so they felt I had earned my starting spot back. That’s how it happened.

SS: In your second start, you had to face the triple option of Air Force. They rang up more than 300 yards rushing, but the Sooners still got the win. How do you think the defense played overall?

McGee: We played good. Air Force has that good offense. But we played good. That’s all I can say.

SS: Many high school recruits have different expectations about what college football will be like and how different it will be compared to high school. What did you expect before you first stepped on the field at Oklahoma?

McGee: I thought it would be a lot faster than it was. The game is nothing like practice, with our fast-moving practice. It’s a lot easier once you are actually out there on the field. The game speed itself is fast, but not as fast as practice speed.

SS: Years from now, after your career is complete, what do you want Oklahoma fans to remember and say about your time as a Sooner?

McGee: I just want them to remember me as a dominant player who was a playmaker. When you needed it done, I got it done.

SS: Coming out of high school, you signed to play at Oklahoma with your good friend Jameel Owens. He was considered one of the top wideouts in the country at the time. After struggling to get on the field, he transferred to Tulsa. How tough was that to see him leave?

McGee: It was hard at first. I came here with him. That was supposed to be my partner to the end. But you know, he kind of left me. So I had to find a new group to fit in with.

SS: When Owens left, were you surprised or did you see it coming?

McGee: We talked about it and I kind of saw it coming. But then I thought maybe he was just talking. I never really thought he was going to make the move. But when he did, I was like ‘Man, he’s gone.’

SS: For two seasons, you got to be around All-American defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in practices, at games and away from the field. What are some of the biggest things you have learned from him that are helping you to excel today?

McGee: Pass rush and basically just keying the ball. And having fun.

SS: McCoy was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. When you saw him walk across the stage and give commissioner Roger Goodell a bear hug, what was that like for you?

McGee: It was like, ‘Man, it can happen for anybody.’ I use to sit in the locker room with Gerald, used to run with him, used to do everything with him. And now he made it. It was like anything is possible.

SS: Defensive line coach Jackie Shipp has mentored the college careers of McCoy, Dusty Dvoracek, Tommie Harris and Kory Klein, among others. How has Shipp aided your progress since you arrived at Oklahoma?

McGee: He has basically built the whole progress for me — from the ground up. Because coming out of high school, I really played with no technique. Now everything is about technique, technique, technique.

SS: Having to put in so much work in practice, meetings and class, what do you do away from the field to relax?

McGee: Usually sleep. Get as much rest as I can because I know a long day is coming.

SS: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given at Oklahoma?

McGee: Just be mentally strong and no matter what, just keep going forward.

SS. Everyone has a hidden talent that might surprise those around them if it ever came to light. But what fear do you have that would surprise OU fans?

McGee: I have a serious stage fright problem. It’s real bad. I start sweating, hands get sweaty. I get nervous. My voice kind of breaks a little bit. A lot of people don’t know that.

SS. If you could choose one word to describe who you are and what you are all about, what would it be?

McGee: Unbreakable. Because I’ve been through a lot and I’ve done a lot here. And no matter what I go through, I never quit. I just try and try and try.

(Eidtor's Note: This story appears in the Sept. 30 issue of Sooner Spectator. To subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877 today)