By Michael Kinney
Curtis Bolton put on a show Saturday. He recorded six tackles and recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown against Florida Atlantic.
Bolton earned Big 12 Defensive Player of Week honors, which had defensive coordinator Mike Stoops singing his senior will linebacker’s praises
“Curtis played outstanding,” Stoops said. “Curtis made some plays. That’s what he does. He runs around, he plays with great effort, He’s made himself a better player. We need him to continue to progress and he can really help us if he can continue that climb.”
However, Bolton admits a few years ago that wouldn’t have been the case. The California native says that it has taken some time for him and Stoops to get a good understanding of each other.
“Me and coach Stoops, it is an interesting relationship,” Bolton said. “In my younger years, I needed a lot of time to mature. I needed a lot of time to build my consistency. I think a lot of times in my younger years he was frustrated because I felt like he could see what I could become. But I wasn’t becoming all that I could be. That was something I needed to grow up in and realize. That has kind of been my main focus in the last two years. I think over the last two years we’ve built it up. I think he understands where I’m at as a person. I’m trying to understand where he’s at. But it’s tough being a D-coordinator. I’m just trying to play sound football. At the end of the day, if there is one position he can count on, it’s the will linebacker.”
Kenneth Mann named a captain
“It’s a huge honor,” Mann said. “I was really happy to hear that. I was shocked to hear it to. It’s a huge honor, a big role.”
Mann said being captain was something he had made a goal of his.
“It was something I wanted to get to as a goal,” Mann said. “To be a leader on this team like that. It’s just cool to hear.”
UCLA bringing an up-tempo squad to Norman
UCLA coach Chip Kelly is known as one of the innovators of the up-tempo offense. His teams tend to go at an even faster pace than most of the squads Oklahoma faces.
“Well we’ve grown accustomed to playing that way and our guys, even our young guys are adapting to playing fast,” Stoops said. “For the most part, we were able to communicate well. We had some missed calls, missed assignments throughout the course of the game Saturday but 90 some percent was good, and the communication part. We get that from our offense pretty much daily. We should be well equipped to handle it.”
Sooners looking forward to the challenge
“I think they are a good tempo offense,” junior corner Parnell Motley said. “Just kind of slow it down. He kinds of brings this NFL strategy back to the college level. It’s good to see some things like that and line up to it and see what we can do with it.”
“They run a good offense,” senior safety Kahlil Haughton said. “They have a lot of good players they can spread out. And their quarterback is really good. They have a chance to be mobile with him. All around they have a really good offense. We’re excited about the chance to go out there and stop another team.”
PAC 12 Experience
Stoops said he and Kelly became good friends when both were in the Pac 12 facing each other every year when he was at Arizona and Kelly was at Oregon. It also gives the Sooners a small advantage in the fact he has taken on a Kelly coached team before. But not much.
“I see some similarities when we played when I was at Arizona. I went back and looked at some things and I looked at, you got to look at Philadelphia and San Francisco. He’s adapted as he’s moved the last two or three places,” Stoops said. “I think you have to adapt to your players and to the quarterback and do what they do. And he’s had a whole slew of different prototypical, non-prototypical. This kids a great athlete and a great thrower so again he just again, I think he has a lot of offense that can fit each particular team. And he can come at you a variety of different ways. When you look at all that, there’s a big body of work. There’s a lot to defend.”
Bolton was not satisfied with his TD celebration Saturday
“I wasn’t able to get it all,” Bolton said. “I was kind of just hyped at the point. I have a little something, but with the new play clock rule, everybody grabbed me talking about we’re not trying to get 15 (yards) and I understood. I just kind of ran off. But it’s going to be better, trust me. That’s just something y’all are going to have to see. I have to make the plays first. Celebrations are fun and all, but at the of the day, if you’re not making plays, it doesn’t matter what you’re celebrating.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider