One thing was made clear to wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. If you want to come to Oklahoma, you have to do things the Oklahoma way.
The OU way, it’s one thing wide receivers coach Jay Norvell emphasized when discussing bringing Green-Beckham into the fold.
Norvell was convinced Green-Beckham was going to make the adjustment. But it’s safe to say not everybody was.
“To me, going into it, I thought this guy is going to be a pain and throw our whole karma off as far as leadership and all that stuff,” said Jerry Schmidt, OU’s strength and conditioning coach the whole time Bob Stoops has been coach.
The quickest way to find that out was to put him through the ringer. Green-Beckham, an unquestioned megastar in high school who set all sorts of receiving records, had a great two years on the field at Missouri.
Nobody doubts his talent. It’s his discipline and commitment that’s questioned. Three off the field incidents resulted in Green-Beckham being dismissed from the Tigers in April and gave OU another shot at landing his services once again.
Nothing would be given to him this summer, it couldn’t be that way. Though Green-Beckham struggled early in keeping up with the summer conditioning. He eventually picked it up.
“He responded to it,” Schmidt said. “He was in terrible shape but said ‘I’m going to get there, coach’ He worked extra and was very respectful. He’s a competitive guy.”
A competitive guy in conditioning is a great thing because everybody already knows how competitive he is on the field even if it still remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be eligible at any point for OU during the season.
It has only been a week, but coaches and teammates have raved about his work ethic in practice and some of the dazzling plays he has made during his limited time.
“He had to work a little bit harder when he came here,” junior Sterling Shepard said. “He was kind of hurting. But he got the hang of it. And when he got the hang of it, he was just fine.”
Shepard has been there as somebody for Green-Beckham to bounce things off of and Durron Neal has stepped up huge in that department.
Neal, also entering his junior season, attended St. Louis DeSmet Jesuit, four hours away from Green-Beckham at Springfield Hillcrest.
They were the unquestioned top two receivers in the state and most considered them two of the 10 best in the nation for the 2012 class.
The bond was solid during their high school years, but it has been taken to a whole new level with both of them in Norman now.
“I talk to him every day,” Neal said. “Anytime he has a question, I answer it for him. Anytime he needs to know something, I answer it for him.
“If I see that there’s something that he’s doing that I can help him, I try to get over there before Coach Jay does. That’ll stop him from getting yelled at.”
It’s a process, but it’s clear Green-Beckham is learning the Oklahoma way.
OU took a calculated risk when accepting Dorial Green-Beckham. But right now it's working for all parties involved.