Senior offensive lineman Davin Joseph is seen as one of the top pro prospects at guard in the upcoming NFL draft. But for the good of his team, Joseph was asked to switch to tackle this season. Even though he was a consensus All-Big 12 performer at tackle, the move probably cost him All-American honors, but may have made him more desirable to the pros after showing his versatility.
Was the switch worth giving up all the personal accolades?
“You know, this program is bigger than me. I can’t be selfish about what I want or what this team needs”, said Joseph, during a break from preparation for the Holiday Bowl. “What I want doesn’t matter when this team needs something. That’s just something I had to give up. If I had to give up a possible chance to be All-American, hey, so be it”
Off the field, you’ll always catch Joseph with a smile on his face. But that easygoing persona was tested early this season when the Sooners started 1-2 with losses to TCU and UCLA. At a point where things could have fallen apart in the locker room, Joseph said reflecting on the situation during an open date produced a different outcome.
“We could have very easily started pointing fingers, but instead, we started pointing a thumb - at ourselves. I think each and every one of us took responsibility to make the team better instead of complaining about what had already happened”, Joseph said. “We just decided as a team to work as hard as we could to turn things around.”
“It’s easy to be happy now in the position that we’re in. But at one time, we had a long road to travel. When you’re 1-2, it’s kinda hard to be happy but we went into that off week and we really got after it. It really was a lot of fun seeing players compete and try to get better in that open week. We didn’t take the weekend off or anything. It was pretty special to see how much everybody cared about it, to turn the season around and go on a win streak, four games and then having the tough loss to Tech, and then finishing up with a win. It’s easy to be happy now because we’re finally where we need to be to compete at a high level. “
After playing his final game as a Sooner next week against Oregon, Joseph will being concentrating on pre-draft workouts. But right now, he is excited about what Oklahoma will bring back to the table next year. He envisions the Sooners building toward another National Championship run and he thinks the key will lie in the people who will replace him and the other departing seniors on the offensive line.
He rates the group who he feels will start next season as “phenomenal” and says they are as good –if not better - as the group he began with as a freshman.
“You look at Jammal (Brown) and me and Wes (Sims), Vince Carter, Kelvin Chaisson, we all came in when we were young. We were tough guys, we played hard, but I don’t think we really had near the talent as Brandon Braxton and Duke Robinson”, said Joseph. “I’m talking about being big and strong and as agile and fast as they are now. To be 18, 19 years old, I don’t think we really had that.”
Joseph hopes to perform in the Senior Bowl next month and then head toward what he hopes will be a long and prosperous NFL career. Meanwhile, his line coach, Kevin Wilson, will be expanding his duties to being offensive coordinator for the Sooners next year. What does Joseph think Wilson will bring to that position?
“He is tough on us, but that’s just because that’s the way he works and we’ve all come to accept that. You can’t be a good offensive lineman if you don’t work hard. It’s the toughest position besides quarterback to play. Since he’ll be bringing that offensive lineman mentality to the offense, I think it will benefit everybody. You know, really getting the best out of everybody at practice, going in there with a positive attitude everyday, working hard. I think his vibe alone will help the offense in general.”
And of course, like all the other armchair quarterbacks, Joseph has some advice on what plays to run.
“You know me, I’m all run. If he wants to call a couple of passes in there, he can. But if he asks me, it's all running plays.”