With Oklahoma opening on the road in two days, the preparation in which the athletes go through differ from player to player. Corey Nelson had his own interesting twist and says that playing on the road does make the gameday preparations different than playing at home.
“It adds some extra anxiety because we are used to opening our season at home,” said Nelson. “We have to prepare faster for lack of a better word and normally we don’t have to do that so it has kept us on our toes more.”
Nelson says that fans will see a different game out of him this year because he is more mature and has settled in for OU in the middle of the defense.
“I feel like I am a more complete player than last year if for no other reason that I have more games under my belt,” said Nelson. “I feel like now I know the defense like the back of my hand so that allows me to just play now and not have to think so much. It’s more of a read and react for me now than it was in years past. My confidence level is higher and I know the players around me feed off of that and playing in this defense, we are now bigger, stronger and faster than last year and the game as a whole has really slowed down for me.”
Many thought that Nelson didn’t have the spring that he should have meaning that he didn’t play up to his level and abilities and Corey says that would be an accurate statement.
“I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t have a good spring,” said Nelson. “It is all on me because I didn’t stay focused and I had my mind elsewhere and I paid for it tremendously. The biggest thing was that I was able to bounce back quickly and get my mind right and just know that I had to be a leader and I couldn’t allow off-the-field issues get to me like that. My team is looking at me to be a leader and I wasn’t doing that so I just refocused and got back into the game.”
With so much focus centering on the players that OU has lost in the preseason for various reasons, there has been very little talk about the linebacking corps. Nelson said that is OK because he knows that he and his teammates will do just fine anchoring the middle of OU’s defense.
“I feel like our linebacking corps will do really well and we have some young guys that have really stepped up and added some depth in there as well,” said Nelson. “More than anything, I feel like we are closer than we were last year and that is a great feeling to have because you need to know that you can count on our brothers when you are out in the heat of the battle. We hold each other to a higher standard and we hold each other accountable and I feel like the intensity level that we play with will really help us this year.”