OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops will always do what it takes to win championships. And if you really believe that then it should be no surprise that both Marcus Walker and Garrett Hartley were brought out of redshirt late in the season. OU was struggling at both cornerback and place-kicker at the time of the moves and Coach Stoops is not afraid to make a tough decision.
According to Coach Stoops, Hartley has been training well in practice and that he considered bringing the freshman out of redshirt for the last three weeks. Coach Stoops approached Hartley at the beginning of last week and told him that he might make the move and for him to talk it over with his parents. Hartley did and came back ready to kick. And after a Trey DiCarlo miss, Hartley was thrown into action.
Hartley has trained all week as the No. 1 kicker, and today after practice he sat down with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: Can you re-create how Coach Stoops approached you about coming out of redshirt?
GH: "Coach Stoops came and asked me earlier in the week and told me to go home and talk to my dad. After I consulted with him, and that didn't take long at all, I let Coach Stoops know the next day that I definitely wanted to play."
JH: While you were standing on the sidelines what kind of feelings were going through your body? Were they different from high school?
GH: "Yeah, because I had never played in a collegiate game before. I was very eager to get out on the field and there were butterflies in my stomach. It was a good feeling and a good excitement."
JH: Was it a good kick for you on that extra point at the end of the first half?
GH: "I was actually pretty calm when I was kicking it. When I was running out on the field I was pretty excited and I had several thoughts on my mind."
JH: Did you get much warning on the sideline that you were going in?
GH: "Yeah, Coach (Bobby Jack) Wright let me know after the miss on the field goal. He told me to warm up and to get loose."
JH: Everybody on OUInsider.com wants me to ask if you can throw? You know how Coach Stoops likes to use those fakes?
GH: "As an athlete I played soccer my whole life. So, being quick and athletic was important there. I am athletic. Just because I am a kicker doesn't mean that I can't play this game."
JH: Well, I hope you don't get offended by me saying that I still hope Mark Bradley throws any pass off of a fake field goal or extra point.
GH: "No, I don't mind you saying that at all because I am thinking the same thing. Mark has an awesome arm and he is an awesome athlete, but if I get a chance to run something I am going to do my best. I think I can be successful."
JH: Up until this point you have been the understudy, the rookie, but today you were the main man and in all drills you went out there first to kick. How did that go?
GH: "It was different. Even warming up I knew that I was going to go out there first instead of watching Trey kick first. It was a good feeling to have and I was able to just go out there and make my kicks, relax and basically do what he normally does."
JH: Have you and Trey talked about the situation?
GH: "Yes, Trey and I have talked about it. We are really good friends and he has helped me out with the situation. He has told me how things are going to be out there. He has been guiding me through everything that we are going to have to do."
JH: You look like you have become much bigger since you have been at OU?
GH: "I came in weighing 172 pounds and I think the other day I weighed in at 185."
JH: Where have you put on the weight?
GH: "My upper body has gotten a lot bigger and stronger. I also have been doing a lot of lower body weights. I am also running a mile to three miles a day on the treadmill. Two miles on the Stairmaster has helped me in strengthening my legs."
JH: Do you plan on making some tackles are what?
GH: "If I have to, then so be it."
JH: I know you hope that is on a kick-off and not after a blocked field goal?
GH: "Yes, on kick-offs."
JH: What can we expect from you on kick-offs?
GH: "It depends on the wind. Against Baylor, I had a five to ten mile-an-hour wind blowing in my face, and if I hit it in the end zone like I did on one of them then that is good. One, I think I hung on the three. As long as I hit it good and clean then I am happy with it. If there is no wind I expect to put it five yards deep in the end zone."
JH: Do you have a range on your field goals that you feel comfortable with?
GH: "As long as I can get it there I feel I have a chance to split the up-rights. In the indoor facility warming up I have kicked one 65 yards before. In high school my longest was 54-yards in a game. It is a lot different in a game situation."
JH: Did you play another position in high school?
GH: "My freshman year I did. I played wide receiver and defensive back, but after that I just kicked and played soccer."
JH: How long have you played soccer?
GH: "I have played soccer since I was three until I was 17. I guess I have retired from soccer. I just focused on football, especially since I got a scholarship offer from Oklahoma."
JH: Are you geared up emotionally now?
GH: "Emotionally it is overwhelming. The other night I was just lying on my couch in my room and I couldn't go to bed until 3:00 AM. I was thinking about the opportunity that I have and I just want to contribute to the team."
JH: Will you be nervous in the Big 12 Championship, or are they behind you now?
GH: "There are always going to be nerves, but hopefully in the Big 12 game I will just feel comfortable and I won't have to worry about it. I just want to get on the field, do my job and then come out."
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