Thursday, October 13, 2011
OU's Reynolds finds Red River redemption
By David Ubben
Late in the second quarter of Oklahoma's 55-17 victory over Texas last weekend, Longhorns standout Fozzy Whittaker had returned a kickoff 100 yards to stifle OU's momentum and cut its lead to 27-10.
Four players later, Texas brought a big blitz to try to get to Sooners quarterback Landry Jones, whom the Horns sacked just once.
Oklahoma receiver Jaz Reynolds set a career high with six catches against Texas.
OU was ready. It had a screen play called to Jaz Reynolds. Jones dumped it off, and Reynolds caught a quick glance at the sideline.
"I looked over at Mack Brown and his hands were on his head. And he was pissed, man," Reynolds said. "That was a good feeling. I was like, Yeah, I got him."
Reynolds turned the catch into a 16-yard play to reach midfield. Two plays later, the Sooners were in the end zone and led 34-10 at halftime.
"Next thing you know, you look up and we’re scoring and it was an even better feeling," Reynolds said.
It was a great moment in a day full of them. He racked up 92 yards receiving. His six catches were a career high.
Before last season's Red River Rivalry, though, Reynolds endured a career low.
He'd already been suspended for a game for academic reasons and hadn't appeared in a game to that point, but a rabble-rousing tweet suggesting people from Austin commit suicide cost him the rest of his season, with a stern suspension from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
The lesson was painful.
"I’m being watched at all times. No matter what I’m doing, somebody’s watching you," Reynolds said. "I have to be more selective in what I say and how I handle myself on and off the field to get my spot back. Kenny [Stills] came in and was playing well and Dejuan [Miller] and Trey [Franks] were playing well. It wasn’t just going to be given to me."
But Reynolds earned it. And a year after being a black eye for the team heading into its biggest rivalry, he was one of its biggest assets.
That status might only grow.
"A year ago there were quite a few more drops. He’s just been more and more consistent catching it, route running, being more competitive. Everything," Stoops said. "That’s also understandable now that he’s a junior, he’s getting older and he’s just grown in the position and he’s doing really well."
Part of that growth, both on and off the field, has been a result of working every day next to one of the best in the game.
"I think [Ryan Broyles] rubbed off on all the players in the receiver room," Stoops said. "Coach Jay Norvell does a great job coaching them, but when you’re looking at an example in Ryan and how serious he takes it, he watches tape, he understands coverages, how he’s working it, his route running. All of it. And they see how hard he works at it, so I think it’s rubbed off on all those guys."