August 17, 2007

Box is most impressive frosh on defense

Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables was asked just the other day to name his most impressive freshman through the first two weeks of fall practice.

The first name he mentioned was Austin Box, the converted safety who now appears No. 2 on the depth chart behind Ryan Reynolds at weakside linebacker.

Box has really started to come into his own as a linebacker after going through 15 practices last spring. SoonerScoop.com Editor Carey Murdock recently caught up with Box to talk about his development and his thoughts on possibly playing as a true freshman.

SS.com: Austin, I was talking to Brent Venables the other day and I was asking him what freshmen had impressed him and he brought your name up first and foremost. Can you talk about the transition from last spring until now and how much more comfortable you feel out there?
Austin Box:
Oh, it's amazing how much more comfortable I feel. When I first got here in the spring I was a bit tentative and I didn't really know what I was doing. Now I have a really good feel for the game.

I've been around here for a while now and I just feel really good when I'm out there on the field.

SS.com: What has been the one thing that's been the biggest adjustment for you just going from safety to linebacker? Has it been playing in space or playing closer to the line of scrimmage?
Austin:
You have to react a lot quicker. Every step counts and one thing as a linebacker is you can't false step. That's one of the big things that Coach Venables harps on. You have to play with great technique or you'll get caught up in all the trash and all the linemen.

That's also been a big part of it is being able to work around the linemen and fight off blocks and stuff.

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