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Clint Ingram - photo by LaizurePhoto
Clint Ingram Q&A
Sooner LB talks to Sooner Spectator

Clint Ingram was sprawled out on his own little piece of turf in the south end zone Friday morning, waiting and watching for Memorial Stadium’s transformation into the epicenter of what amounted to a media frenzy. As an underclassman, Ingram might have experienced a case of the nerves as he pondered questions on various subjects concerning the Sooners, or he might have sat quietly on the wall unnoticed. But the 6-foot-1, 236-pound senior linebacker, is confident in his new role with the Oklahoma football team — defensive leader — and he demonstrated that while chatting with Sooner Spectator editor Jay C. Upchurch.

Sooner Spectator: Can you talk about the difference in your attitude going into the 2005 season knowing you are one of the guys this defense will depend on heavily?

Clint Ingram: I look that whole deal as a challenge. Being a leader is something you have to work to earn and I see it as a very positive thing. When you look at former players like Roy Williams, Rocky Calmus and Teddy Lehman and the list goes on — finding a way to follow their footsteps is what it’s all about. That’s something I look forward to day in and day out. That motivates you to push harder in your preparation and strive to do achieve greater things.

SS: Coach Venables has pointed to you and some other veterans on defense as being the key to this team’s success on that side of the ball. He said you guys will need to raise you game to another level. Does that serve to further motivate you?

Ingram: Oh, we’re definitely up for the challenge. The way we work and prepare around here, we don’t need a whole lot of extra motivation. But we’ve been on both sides of the situation like when we came in here as young players and had the veteran guys show us the ropes and teach us about what it takes to be winners at this level. It’s very infectious. We have to set the tone for all of the younger players. We have to step up and play at a level that sets an example for the entire team.

SS: How much will the experience you gained from last season going to help you this fall?

Ingram: What I learned on the field last year was important to my maturing as a player. I can look back on that experience and take from it. Each game pushed me closer to where I wanted to be as a player. And the game kind of slowed down for me in the spring, the more I got comfortable in my role and at my position. But I know I’ve got a lot more to prove of myself. I’m not yet the player that I want to be and I have to continue to work hard and strive to reach that goal.

SS: What was young biggest hurdle last season?

Ingram: Probably recognizing all of the different situations as they happened and reacting to them. I don’t know if you call them hurdles, but there were some different situations that threw me a little off-guard — some things I wasn’t used to seeing all the time. I think as the season went on, I became more comfortable and more aware of my surroundings.

SS: What do you feel Clint Ingram brings to the field every practice and every game day?

Ingram: Probably my tenacity. I feel the attitude I bring with me and the way I approach every day are my strengths. In my mind, when I come off the field, whether it’s practice or a game, I don’t want to have any regrets when I’m in that locker room. Play hard and leave it all on the field.

SS: How do like the talent you have at linebacker this season?

Ingram: Honestly, I think this group can be as good as any during the time I’ve been here. As far as athleticism and talent and attitude — we have it all. No one is better than Rufus (Alexander) going from sideline to sideline. He’s got some of the quickest feet I’ve seen, kind of like a tennis player who can hit like a freight train. Everyone in this group brings something different to the table — we all have the ability to help make this defense better. Plus, we’ve got some young guys who are going to be difference-makers here, too.

SS: So even with all of the new faces on defense, you feel this crew will have what it takes to get this team to where it wants to go?

Ingram: I’m positive that this defense has all of the elements it needs to be something special. It’s all there — speed, athleticism, tenacity, toughness, smarts. It’s all a matter of how we come together as a unit. The only thing some of these guys lack is game experience. Once they have a bit of that, we’re going to be fun to watch.