NORMAN — Safety Tony Jefferson has been Oklahoma’s best defensive player. He has a team-leading 105 tackles along with two interceptions.
Nonetheless, defensive coordinator/secondary coach Mike Stoops believes Jefferson still hasn’t reached his potential.
“He does some things that really aggravate you, but he comes back and does so many good things. He has a chance to be special, and getting him to understand the little things, the finer things that make players great, has always been my struggle with Tony. Understanding technique, discipline in your reads. When he learns that, he will be a dominating player,” he said about Jefferson. “That’s still a process for him, because that’s how he plays. He plays very aggressive, and it gets him in trouble.”
Stoops spent several minutes chewing out Jefferson during the Bedlam game for one specific play. He had Oklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart one-on-one on the first play of the second half. Stewart ran right by Jefferson off the snap and caught a 75-yard touchdown pass.
Jefferson was looking in the backfield at the snap.
“It got him in trouble the other night. He knows that, so he’s smarter than that. He’s played too much football to not know that, and know the importance of position, especially when you’re a deep half player or quarter player, you can’t ... those are things, you’ve gotta be patient, can’t force the game, and you’ve gotta understand where your other players are. We didn’t even need him in the run. That’s what’s so frustrating. He’s better than that. That’s a young, immature mistake, and he’s not a young, immature player. He’s a very mature guy; he plays very maturely. He just made a mistake, and it cost us.”