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Chris Messner Q&A
OU O-lineman talks about 2005 season

When Chris Messner arrived at OU back in the fall of 2002, most people figured he was, at best, a longshot to ever see action wearing an Oklahoma uniform. After all, it’s not every day a high school quarterback makes the transition to Division-I offensive lineman. But that’s what Messner had in mind and it didn’t take long for him to prove he meant business.

Just two-plus seasons into his college career, Messner has earned a starting job up front for the Sooners and has steadily developed into one of the team’s most consistent performers on Saturdays.

Sooner Spectator writer-at-large Mark Stack dug into the trenches recently to find Messner and talk to him about his emergence as a top-notch O-lineman:

Sooner Spectator: Can you describe the progress you have made from the first game of the season to now?
Chris Messner: Just by coming out working hard every week, I’ve gotten a lot better at every aspect of my game.

SS: What areas do you feel you have improved in most?
Messner: Pass protection, and just being more physical when it comes to the run and the running game.

SS: There aren’t many, if any, Division-I offensive linemen who can say they played quarterback in high school. How difficult was that transition physically, as well as mentally?
Messner: I focus more on the mental aspect of it by making sure I know my assignments and by working hard, because then everything will take care of itself. The physical part of it really is never a worry because we have such a good training staff, they are going to get you ready to play each week.

SS: Is it true one of your superstitions is a pregame meal that consists of lasagna, green beans and two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
Messner: No, that thing is messed up. At the training table, they only have a certain meal for us, usually for the game, and everyone eats the same thing. It just so happens that you know, lasagna is what they give us every time. And after that, I’ll have two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. So yeah, it’s sort of become my pregame meal, but not by choice or for any superstitious reasons.

SS: Do you have any other superstitions or routines you go through for a game?
Messner: Not really. I tend not to believe in those sort of things. I think the games are decided on the field and not by what you do or don’t do off the field.

SS: Besides football, you lettered in three other sports in high school, including golf. That doesn’t sound like a typical resume for an offensive lineman. But by playing all those other sports, did it help you to become a better football player at the next level?
Messner: I don’t really know. It’s more a product of being from a small town, being able to play all those different sports that were available to us. It might have helped out some, but it keeps you active, more than anything — keeps you from being lazy and makes you more of a responsible person. It gets you doing something instead of just laying around and being a bump on a log. It can also keep you out of trouble.

SS: Right now, you are around 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds. What was your playing size your senior season at Frederick?
Messner: In high school, I was 6-foot-6, and 205 to 210 pounds. I was the big guy, so everywhere I went, I was, of course, a lot bigger than most everybody. Then once I got here, I was just like a face in the crowd.

SS: Are you at your ideal weight yet?
Messner: No, I would like to be about 300 pounds, maybe a little more.

SS: When would you like to add that weight?
Messner: I’m going to try in the offseason, in the winter and then in the spring and summer. I’m going to work my hardest to bring my weight up a few more pounds.

SS: How difficult has it been for you to bulk up?
Messner: It’s been pretty tough, I have a hard time putting on weight. I eat all the time, but I need to hit the weights harder and maybe eat a little more. But it will come. Like I said, we have a great training staff and they do a great job of getting you in the right shape.

SS: Coming from Frederick and being the big fish, was it difficult for you to make the adjustment to playing with guys who are just as talented as you are?
Messner: It was at first. It was frustrating, but I’m sure it’s the same with everyone. Everybody on this team was used to being (ITALLL) the guy (END ITAL) in high school. But as long as the work ethic and effort are there, you will be a successful football player — no matter how good you were in high school.

SS: The offensive line had its struggles early on in the season. Are you satisfied with how you guys are now playing?
Messner: I can’t speak for everyone, but as a group, I don’t think we are ever satisfied. We always feel that we can achieve more and be better each week. As long as we get better, this team will continue to get better.

SS: How close are you with the guys you line up next to?
Messner: We are a tight unit. You kind of need that on the offensive line, being able to work hard with each other and being able to count on each other in times of need. And it’s really fun to be around those guys.

SS: What drives you to be an offensive lineman?
Messner: Just blocking. Every play you are blocking someone, and he either dominates you or dominate him. And you don’t get a lot of the limelight, and no one sees you unless you get a penalty. But you know that you and four other guys are the key to the offense and making plays.

SS: Do you have to be humble in order to be a lineman since you don’t get much attention?
Messner: Yeah, you do. But you also have to have an attitude about you that you are going to go out there and kick someone’s butt.

SS: Tell us one thing you enjoy about Kevin Wilson...
Messner: That he wants us to be better every week. Every day he expects a lot of us, and he comes out and gets us prepared. Just like he would every week, no matter how well we played. He demands a lot out of us and I can appreciate that.

SS: Is there any other style or personality that you would rather play under?
Messner: I can’t think of one, no. He is who he is and either you accept that and work as hard as you can, or don’t come here.

SS: You see all the running backs, but talk about Allen Patrick. How surprising has he been considering he came into camp as a safety?
Messner: He’s a good player, and works as hard as everyone else. It’s good to see someone like him get in there and make plays like he does. He has been a surprise, but I think people are starting to see what he can do. I don’t think he’s going to surprise too many more people.