Figured to be an interesting spring for OU's defense, and it was with these five players stepping up…
It's interesting Austin has reached this level when it seemed like he was an afterthought for most of his senior season at Lancaster (Texas) High. A last-second, almost literally at the last second, offer by OU gave Austin a chance to showcase his skills when he committed days before 2013's signing day.
He wasn't the first commit, but he has played like he belongs with the Sooners since stepping foot in Norman. Austin registered a few special teams tackles, but the highlight of his season was an interception against Iowa State.
Austin dove for the pick late in the game, and he still has the ball. He said it's in his room on top of his Playstation. Austin spoke with the media for the first time Tuesday in discussing how things are going in year No. 2.
How valuable was it to earn that playing time as a freshman?
When I first got here, it was me and Zach Sanchez competing for the spot. He got it then and obviously, now I feel like I should get the other starting spot.
This is a young secondary. Do you guys think you'll be up to the task?
I know we're going to get challenged and I feel like we have a group that's up for it. We really have a lot of aggressive guys, guys that are going to get after it. I wouldn't want to do it with another group. I feel like we're really going to get the job done. We're really underrated and that's what's going to make it so much sweeter in the end.
What did you learn from playing a year with Aaron Colvin, on and off the field?
I learned instincts and just staying poised. [I also learned] the speed of the game; certain antics that the offense does, just picking up on film work. That's really the main thing; picking up on things the other team likes to do. He was really heavy on film and that's something that I would like to adopt in my game.
Playing cornerback helps, obviously, but is there a benefit to playing special teams in your situation?
You stay involved. That's the main part. When you're involved, you pick up the speed of the game, pick up what coaches expect from you and I think that really translates to when you go out there and play offense or defense.
How do you feel this competition is going right now?
I feel like I'm winning, but anything can happen. I got to stay humble. I got to stay humble and hungry and that's what I'm doing right now.
You mentioned being there with Sanchez last season. What was that experience like?
I didn't really know just how important fall camp was. I knew what was at stake, but I didn't fully realize. That's when things are really decided. I understand now, and I'm going to make the most out of this chance.