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OU Football: The most important Oklahoma player to cheer for this fall

September 10, 2018

Rodney Anderson wore a big smile when I walked up to him during Oklahoma’s media day exactly seven weeks ago.

Anderson was explaining during an interview that he doesn’t like fast food. He can’t walk into one of the world’s top hamburger restaurants without getting sick because of the smell. A health nut, the only place with a drive-thru that he will visit is a smoothie place.

It was the perfect start to a 10-minute, one-on-one interview I had with Anderson. In today’s sports world, it’s not often you get individual time with a top college football program’s top players.

Anderson was friendly, as always, on that Sunday afternoon. We talked about his team’s support during last year’s breakout season. We spoke about his family’s support during a well-publicized December allegation against him which ended with no charges filed.

Then we talked about his past injuries.

Did he ever think about giving up football after not only suffering a season-ending broken leg in week two of the 2015 season, but a fractured vertebrae before the 2016 season?

“The first conversation is ’Am I going to be OK? Am I, as a person going through life, am I going to be all right?” Anderson told me. “Once I knew I was going to be OK, football was easier to approach.”

A few moments later, running back Trey Sermon walked up to us. I asked him, “Does Rodney have a chance to win a Heisman?”

Said Sermon: “This guy right here? Amazing. Great guy. He’s going to do great things.”

Unfortunately, it won’t happen this season after Sunday’s news that Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Saturday’s win over UCLA.

As a beat writer, I’m indifferent on whether OU wins or loses a football game. Honestly, I’m cheering for a fast game so there’s little deadline pressure.

Anderson is facing his third tough rehabilitation to play the game that he loves so much. It’s unfair. And, for the next few months, I’m going to be cheering for him.

For entertainment purposes only

Since we don’t have legalized sports gambling in our state (yet?), the following paragraph is for entertainment purposes only.

Oklahoma opened as a 17.5-point favorite against Iowa State in Saturday’s league opener.

Last year, Oklahoma was a 31-point favorite over Iowa State and do you remember what happened in Norman?

Just an FYI: Oklahoma was a 30-point favorite over UCLA and didn’t cover.

For you number geeks

Here are some defensive statistics during Oklahoma’s strong defensive start to 2018:

Through two games this season:

Tackles for loss

2018: 21.0 by 13 different players

2017: 10.0 by six different players

Sacks

2018: 8.0 by seven different players

2017: 4.0 by three different players

Of the team’s top 9 tacklers, eight have TFLs and six have sacks.

One man’s Big 12 power poll

1. Oklahoma

2. West Virginia

3. TCU

4. Oklahoma State

5. Texas

6. Iowa State

7. Kansas State

8. Baylor

9. Texas Tech

10. Kansas

Best incomplete pass I’ve seen

CeeDee Lamb on his one-handed catch: “I’ll be honest, I haven’t caught a pass like that even in practice. It hit my hand & just stuck there. I was like, ‘Oh, God, I almost caught this!’ #Soonershttps://t.co/ZkpjBza1gU — Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) September 8, 2018

Now to the links

* Guerin Emig, after giving a well-deserved salute to Burt Reynolds, wrote about Curtis Bolton’s emergence at WILL linebacker in front of five-star Caleb Kelly.

* Oklahoma’s offense gets all the pregame attention, but the defense shined for the second consecutive week in Saturday’s win over UCLA.

* Did you realize that CeeDee Lamb didn’t start the UCLA game? It didn’t matter after the game he had (including the catch he didn’t catch in bounds).

* The special teams were again, ahem, special on Saturday. Plus here’s an injury update on Marquise Overton and Austin Kendall and Fred Biletnikoff’s jersey makes another appearance in the post-game interview session.

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