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December 15, 2010

Cameron Kenney becomes a go-to guy

Cameron Kenney wasn't the player most fans were talking about when Oklahoma made their Big 12 Championship run against Oklahoma State and Nebraska, but no player, not even Belitnikoff Award finalist Ryan Broyles, played a bigger part in the Sooners taking home their seventh Big 12 Championship. Kenney talked last week about the late season surge and the upcoming BCS matchup against Connecticut.

It must be hard to get pumped up, when you're facing arguably the worst BCS-eligible team?
It really doesn't matter what they're ranked or what we're favored by, we know that we have to go out there and execute. We have to practice hard through these next couple weeks and go into this game like it's any other ranked opponent. We can't hold anything back, we have to focus on executing.

You weren't around for the last two Fiesta Bowl games, but some of these fifth-year guys were. Is there any talk, or has there been talk of 'unfinished business" that you guys are looking to take care of?
Definitely. The guys talked today about how they were favored the last two times they went down there and how the two games ended. They said that that the biggest priority is how we have to go down there and take care of business and get that victory.

So, there is genuine excitement for this game?
There's definitely excitement. The coaching staff is just as excited as the players are. The older guys, who have been in this position, want to go down there and get that victory that they've failed to grab in the last two tries.

Would it matter who you guys played, or are you just excited to be back in the BCS?
Just to be back in a BCS bowl game is what's getting a lot of the guys excited. It's a great opportunity for everybody, and it's a reward for our hard work. We deserve this.

Talk about what this season has been like for you, personally. It was a season similar to last season for you. The difference this year is that you had two unbelievable games in OSU and the Big 12 championship. Can you talk about reemerging and becoming such a factor?
I'm just thankful to have gotten these opportunities. I told myself that I'd never quit and never give up on the backside of routes. The ball and the plays have just come to me in some crucial situations and I'm fortunate to have been in those situations. I'm really thankful for it.

How did you stay focused? You had all of that playing time early in the year, but then to lose it and have to fight back must have been hard at times.
Probably (because of) my mom and my close friends telling me just to keep working hard and never give up. They told me that I'd always have my opportunity and, thankfully enough, I always have had a chance to make plays and help the team out in a good way. I always say, 'Never quit working, never give up and always stay positive.' That's the best thing that I've been told.

Did all of that kind of culminate last Saturday, when you're standing on top of that stage as a Big 12 champion?
Definitely. It just shows that hard work pays off and to never give up, no matter what situation you're in. If you get one snap or none, whenever you get your opportunity to step on the field and represent the University of Oklahoma, you just have to go out there and play your hardest.

Coach Norvell said that during the OSU game he saw a different look in your eyes. Did you feel different in that game?
I was just waiting for my opportunity, I was kind of cold on the sidelines (laughing). But my card got drawn and I was able to go in there and make a couple of catches that really helped us out. It was definitely a feeling where I knew that I had to show something because I knew that it could be my last game.

How many texts, or phone calls did you have after that game?
About 75. A lot of people saw that game, but it was more important, for me and my mom, just to show people that I didn't give up and that I was going to play hard and finish strong.

This is the first time we've talked to you since that crazy ending in Stillwater. What was that last play like for you, what went through your mind?
Run! (Laughing) I've been known to somewhat freeze when I catch the ball. Ryan (Broyles) told me, before we ran the play, to run and get up the field as quick as I could. That's what I did, I took off and ran as fast as I could.

Were you surprised by how fast you were? When you see it on film you really put some distance between yourself and the defense.
I can't tell you what happened or what it looked like, I just remember running and looking back like a dog was chasing me. It was a good feeling. I kind of ran out of gas, but it was an adrenaline rush.

Were you surprised that there was all that green grass in front of you?
I didn't see anything (laughing). All I remember is seeing orange and then the cheerleaders. That's about it.

Are you anxious to finally get an opportunity to play in a BCS game, this is what you came here to do isn't it?
Definitely. It's always been a dream to play in big games. Here, at the University of Oklahoma, we play in those big games. But a BCS game is a higher on the chart, to be on a stage like that everyone in the world is going to be watching at the time is exciting. It doesn't matter who we're playing, every team is good at this level. We're going to go out there and have fun with it.

A year ago, from around this time, did you honestly think you'd be sitting here preparing for a Fiesta Bowl game? Not to be harsh, but it looked like you guys had a long way to go.
Well, we had the players and the talent. There wasn't a problem in those areas. We just were not able to execute the right way a year ago. This year we came together as a team and really stepped up, everybody made the plays they needed to make. And Landry (Jones) has gotten so much better, he's doing great.

Go back to that Nebraska game, on the 3rd-and-24 play where you were going up against Prince Amukamara. What was going through your mind on that play and did you realize that your three catches were all against the Big 12's defensive player of the year?
Yeah, I knew going into that game that he (Amukamara) was who I was going to be going up against. I knew that he was a very good corner because I remember playing against him last year when he threw me around a couple of times (laughing). I knew that I had to be physical with him and run fast. The worst thing you can do is let him get his hands on you because he's very physical. But I knew, once again, that when I had my opportunities, that I had to execute. I just never gave up on the plays, I had to show him that we were just as good.

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