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Walker no stranger to USC's Jarrett
Posted Dec 27, 2004
Cornerback Marcus Walker (pictured left against Nebraska) talks about coming out of redshirt, OU's matchup against USC's offense in the Orange Bowl, and his history against Trojan receiver Dwayne Jarrett. (Photo/Getty Images)
When the Sooner coaching staff brought freshman
out of redshirt they had the Big 12 Championship and the Orange Bowl in mind. The Sooners knew if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to play in either game if they stuck with the corners that they were playing with at the beginning of the Texas A&M game.
Thus, Walker was brought out of redshirt because he gave the Sooners the best chance to win the National Championship. Walker begged the Sooner coaches for weeks to put him into a game and now he will line up against the big, bad USC wide receiver corp, which is something that he is looking forward to. Walker talked about his big opportunity recently with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: You didn’t start playing until very late in the season. Have you been able to get rid of all rust from your game?
MW: “I have learned quite a bit since I have started playing, and now my emotions have settled down and now everything is like riding a bicycle again. I have been playing football for a long time and it took me just a little while to get back in the groove.”
JH: You played well once you got in there so it seemed like you adapted very quickly?
MW: “It didn’t take that long. It helped being in there with so many guys who had so much experience. That made the process so much easier to play. They knew the difficulties that I might have and told me what to do in certain situations. I believe my teammates helped my maturation process grow a lot faster.”
JH: Both your high school coach and Coach Pelini say that you are mature beyond your age, so how much does that help you when you play?
MW: “You have to stay level-headed in football. You can’t get too high or too low. Otherwise, you are not going to get through the bumps in the road. You have to play with a lot of confidence. I believe if you play with a lot of confidence you will win a lot of battles. That is how I try to play every play.”
JH: Didn’t you face USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett in an all-star game coming out of high school?
MW: “Yes, I played against him last year about this time in the US Army All-Star game. He is a real good receiver and we had a little battle going. It was real nice. He caught one, maybe two passes against me for short gains. We had a pretty good battle going for the entire game.”
JH: What can you tell us about Jarrett?
MW: “He is a very good receiver.He is big, tall and fast, so he has all the tools to be a great receiver. He proved how good he was this year earning a starting job and playing so well. It doesn’t surprise me how he is doing.”
JH: What do you think about USC as an offense in general?
MW: “They present a lot of challenges for us and they do a lot of different stuff on offense. They have a great offensive coordinator in Coach (Norm) Chow. He comes up with different things with different formations with a number of different runs. They have a number of different ways to get their main runners the ball. It is going to be a big challenge for us to stop them.”
JH: Is the discipline that OU plays with the key in stopping a team like USC?
MW: “Discipline is the key word to win any football game. To be a great player you have to have a lot of discipline. If you don’t have a lot of discipline you are going to make a lot of mistakes. Against USC you have to play with a lot of discipline.”
JH: Would you have rather you played this game a week after the Big 12 Championship game?
MW: “We actually had a couple of guys banged up, so I think the time off helped us. The break will be good for them and help them heal up.”
JH: At the beginning of this year could you imagine that you would be the starting corner in the National Championship game against USC?
MW: “When I signed here I dreamed about playing in the National Championship game. I have always imagined myself playing in the National Championship game. At the first of the year that was one of my goals. That is the reason why I signed to come here.”
JH: Do you feel you have enough experience in big games or do you need that kind of experience to be successful?
MW: “The biggest difference from high school and college is that the players are a lot stronger. Everybody in college plays 100 percent on every play, and they play hard. There are not as many mistakes made at this level than at high school. A lot of guys play solid football at this level and you better play that way as well or it won’t matter. If anything the more experienced you are helps you understand that, but I understood that coming in. I think I understand what it takes to be successful at this level. You have to be really in-tune to focus in on every play in college.”
JH: What game stands out to you as the key games this season?
MW: “I think we had a number of games where we had to fight from behind and we had a lot of games where we had to show the kind of character that we have. There were two or three weeks in a row where we had to come back from behind in games and then hold our leads. That has built our character going into this game.”
JH: I know that you never wanted to redshirt in the first place, but you certainly don’t mind now that you came out of redshirt since you are playing in the National Championship game?
MW: “When I told coach that I wanted to come out of redshirt, I told him that I would do anything to help him win. He asked me if I wanted to help them win, and I was for that.”
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