New Number, Same Attitude

Ryan Reynolds

Tom Wort was lost for the season with an ACL injury and Mike Balogun's status is in limbo as his amateur status is being reviewed. The Sooners do still have a "Rock" in the middle of the defense in Ryan Reynolds, who changed his number for the upcoming season, but still brings the same nasty attitude on to the field.

When the Sooners lost middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds in the OU-Texas game last year, they lost a lot of things.

He was a hard hitter, for one thing.

Reynolds brought a mentality to the game that few players have.

He was the defensive leader, and the rest of the team looked up to him.

And frankly he was a guy that simply knew where he needed to be when he needed to be there.

All of these are reasons the Sooners will welcome Reynolds back to the field in the upcoming weeks off his ACL injury.

But the team won't welcome him back as No. 8 like most of the Sooner faithful might have thought.

And there's a reason for it.

"Hopefully, with the number change [to four], it'll bring better luck, and we'll have a great season," Reynolds said.

It's a little superstition from the past, some of which most athletes use.

"Yeah, it was just a high school number, and then I changed to eight when I got here, so I figured I never got hurt in high school, so I'd go back to four," Reynolds said.

Indeed, Reynolds has had some bad luck wearing No. 8 for OU, especially when he went down against the Longhorns in that pivotal game last year.

"It was real tough," Reynolds said.

Not only was it a huge game in which he was injured, but it was his second major ACL injury since he's been at OU.

"It sucked knowing that I had to go through the whole rehab process again, and it was my second ACL and third knee surgery," Reynolds said. "But with Jim and Scott and [the rest of the training group], I knew it was going to be easier this time. I just knew what to expect. I knew what it was going to be like at certain times. My first time, I tried to push myself too hard and ended up setting myself further back."

So now that he's battled back yet again, he'll have a chance to finish his career the right way.

"Yeah, it's great to be able to get another chance at it," Reynolds said.

And with that chance, Reynolds said he won't slow down any out of the gates.

"No, I've never really been a player to hesitate," Reynolds said. "I've always just kind of gone 100 percent, and yeah, there's not really much hesitation."

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