Oklahoma Sooners: Marquis Anderson

Position breakdown: Defensive tackle 

February, 25, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- Michigan defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery will become Oklahoma's defensive tackles coach. And he faces a tall task in Norman.

No position on Oklahoma’s roster has more questions marks than defensive tackle.

Simon, Anderson no longer on OU team

February, 17, 2013
UPDATE: An OU spokesperson confirms junior defensive tackle Damon Williams is no longer on the team, as well.

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma will be transitioning to three new assistant coaches this spring. The Sooners will also have to make do with just four scholarship cornerbacks and possibly as few as three scholarship defensive tackles during the spring, as well.

An OU spokesperson confirmed Sunday night that cornerback Gary Simon and defensive tackle Marquis Anderson are no longer with the squad.

That leaves the Sooners with only returning starter Aaron Colvin, Cortez Johnson and Zack Sanchez and Kass Everett at cornerback; and just Jordan Phillips, Jordan Wade and Torrea Peterson at defensive tackle.

OU was hoping to add junior-college tackle Quincy Russell in January. Russell, however, still has academic work to complete before he can enroll. Of OU’s three returning defensive tackles, only Phillips saw even spot duty last season.

The Sooners signed three high school defensive tackles earlier this month, as well. But one of those, Kerrick Huggins, has yet to qualify and doubled-signed with Trinity Valley Community College in case he doesn’t make it Norman.

Coach Bob Stoops showed he hasn’t been happy lately with OU’s production or recruiting at defensive tackle, and fired his longtime defensive tackles coach, Jackie Shipp, last week. Last season, the Sooners ranked 94th in run defense and 108th in tackles for loss.

OU also lost its top three defensive tackles -- Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee -- to graduation.

The Sooners face transition in the secondary, as well. Three of five starters are gone, and Simon was expected to challenge Johnson for the starting job at corner opposite Colvin.
A glimpse at the attrition rate at the University of Oklahoma removes the fog hovering over some of the major question marks the Sooners face heading into 2013. OU has had some ill-timed departures, forcing the Sooners to rework their recruiting game plan with the hope of having a balanced roster heading into the upcoming season.

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Oklahoma usually rotates its players along the defensive line but off-the-field issues have made that a difficult proposition in the Sooners first two games. Senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland has seen extensive time on the field against UTEP and Florida A&M.

“It’s way different than looking to the sideline to see if he might throw someone in,” McFarland said. “When you know you’re going to be out there, you aren’t always looking over there, worried that you’re going to come out. You just have to buckle down and play.”

McFarland and David King have played the majority of the snaps at defensive tackle with Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson subbing in late in both games.

Senior Stacy McGee is serving a suspension and is unavailable and fellow senior Casey Walker missed the first two games due to personal issues. Both players were expected to be core members of the Sooners defensive interior this season. Walker will return against Kansas State but there is no announced timetable for McGee’s return.

Film room: Five key plays from FAMU-OU 

September, 9, 2012
Oklahoma got things back on track with a 69-13 win over Florida A&M at Owen Field on Saturday. Damien Williams showed his explosive speed for the second straight week and the Sooners defense dominated except for one bad play. Here's a closer look at five key plays during the Sooners victory:

OU receiver Kenny Stills' 23-yard reception with one hand in the first quarter

This play is important for several reasons.

  • It was eerily similar to the third-down drop against Baylor late last season when Stills didn’t extend for a pass against the Bears. On Saturday, the junior used one hand to secure the catch and take the punishment, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty against FAMU.
  • These are the exact type of plays Stills will have to make, every week, if he hopes to fulfill his goal of being considered one the nation’s top receivers.
  • It was another sign that Stills and quarterback Landry Jones are on the same page and starting to develop chemistry.

On the play, Stills was in the slot and faded toward the sideline early in his route, creating the needed space in the middle of the field behind the linebackers and between the safeties. Jones read it immediately and anticipated Stills being open by the time he completed his drop and fired a perfect pass above the linebackers and between the safeties.

Brett Deering/Getty Images
Safety Javon Harris was solid for the Sooners against Florida A&M.

Jones was protected well on the play and trusted Stills, who made him look good by making a terrific play on the football. Sooner fans should be excited about the progression of the Jones-to-Stills connection.

OU safety Javon Harris’ interception

The Rattlers had three receivers lined up in a bunch formation on the right side of the field on 3rd-and-9. Sooners defensive end P.L. Lindley, returning from injury, stunted inside and got into the face of FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming, who just threw the ball up toward the right side of the field.

Harris was waiting to make the catch at the 50-yard line.

Lindley’s pressure was the key to the play as it forced Fleming to throw early and under duress. The Sooners coverage was excellent as well as cornerback Demontre Hurst and Harris were both in the area where the ball was thrown. Hurst played it particularly well, allowing a FAMU receiver who was not in position to catch the ball and get the first down to go free so he could eliminate the Rattlers deep receiver on the play.

It was a terrific example of understanding down and distance by the Sooners secondary.

OU receiver Justin Brown’s 51-yard reception in the second quarter

With the Sooners facing third-and-10 at their own 25-yard line, Jones found Brown along the right sideline after drawing the Rattlers offside prior to the snap.

The Sooners quarterback had ample time in the pocket and, like a veteran should, took a shot deep knowing that the Rattlers had been flagged for being offside. Brown was not open, and yet he wanted the ball more than the two FAMU defenders. He used his size to outmuscle the cornerback, then used his athleticism to out-fight the safety for the football.

It was a great sign for the Sooners because of the competitiveness Brown displayed on a single play. Without question, his name will be among the top newcomers to the Big 12 Conference in 2012.

Travis Harvey’s 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter

With the Rattlers facing 3rd-and-7 at their own 25-yard line, Harvey got behind Hurst and outraced the rest of the Sooners secondary to the endzone.

The play was made at the line of scrimmage thanks to Harvey’s terrific release. The Rattler receiver was already past Hurst within four yards of the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, safety Jesse Paulsen -- who had subbed for Tony Jefferson because of Jefferson’s ankle injury -- was caught in no-man’s land. As Fleming released the ball, Harvey was already past Paulsen, who hesitated just after the snap, dooming his chances to make a play.

Brett Deering/Getty Images
Roy Finch got his first action of the season and scored on a 15-yard touchdown.

At that point, the Sooners lone hope was that Harvey dropped the ball. He did not. Fifty yards later, OU’s defense had surrendered its first touchdown of the season.

It was one play, one major mistake in a game full of good defensive play by OU. Nevertheless, the Sooners know one play can cost them a game in the future.

Williams' 89-yard touchdown run

After a penalty had pushed the Sooners back to their own 11-yard line, Williams cruised untouched into the endzone.

Much like last week’s long touchdown, the rest of OU’s offensive unit deserves the credit for Williams scoring jaunt. Guard Bronson Irwin and tackle Tyrus Thompson took care of the linebackers, tight end Geneo Grissom joined center Gabe Ikard and guard Adam Shead to create a huge hole on the left side of the formation. And fullback Trey Millard took care of the safety and Williams’ speed did the rest.

Another extremely well blocked touchdown. Ikard said it best early last week when he stated: “Anytime I look up and see someone running for a long touchdown, I think we did a pretty good job.”

Well said.

Bonus section: Early glimpses

• Sooners fans got a look at what could be the OU’s next quarterback-receiver connection when Blake Bell found true freshman Sterling Shepard for a 28-yard gain across the middle. Shepard lined up in the slot on the play, attacked the safety’s cushion then broke wide open across the middle. If Bell had put a little more air under the ball, Shepard could have scored on the play.

• On running back Roy Finch’s 15-yard touchdown run, freshman receiver Durron Neal pancaked his man with a ruthless block on the perimeter. It’s a sign that Neal is competitive and hungry to earn more playing time.

• Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Marquis Anderson recorded a sack by collapsing the pocket and spinning off a double team. A solid move by Anderson who will have to rely on his quickness to emerge as a playmaker during his career.

• Fellow redshirt freshman Jordan Phillips made several plays on inside runs. He will be tough to move out of the middle once he gets comfortable with the expectations of playing defensive tackle in OU’s system.

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Postgame wrap: OU 69, Florida A&M 13 

September, 9, 2012
Analyzing the finer points of Oklahoma’s 69-13 win Saturday over Florida A&M:

• What an addition junior-college transfer Damien Williams has been. You could make the argument that he has been OU’s best overall player through two games. Williams rushed for 156 yards and scored four touchdowns on his first eight carries. "Damien's a strong, powerful guy with excellent speed. So it's exciting to see him play the way he is,” Bob Stoops said. “He looked great out there tonight.” With Dominique Whaley struggling to hold on to the ball, Williams could be in line for even more work in two weeks vs. Kansas State.

• OU’s other two backs rushed the ball well, too, including -- that’s right -- Roy Finch, who ran for 50 yards and a touchdown on just five carries during the fourth quarter. Stoops cut off his postgame press conference before a Finch question could be asked. But there’s no doubt that Finch is capable of helping the offense. The only question is, will he get the chance to? Brennan Clay was sharp, as well, with 62 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.

Damien Williams
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiJuco transfer Damien Williams rushed for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first game in Norman.
• The Sooners might have something special in punt returner Justin Brown. Twice, Brown set up the Sooners with short touchdown drives off huge returns. Stoops compared Brown to former OU returner J.T. Thatcher because of the way he runs through tackles on returns. "He can run through some people,” Stoops said. “He's not a guy you get ahold of his jersey and sling him down.” The Sooners haven’t been a strong return team in recent years. With Brown, they could be a very strong return team this season.

• For the first time since being named the No. 2 QB, Blake Bell got extensive experience operating the base offense, and did well with it. Bell was 4-of-5 passing for 61 yards and led the Sooners to their last touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. On the key play of that drive, Bell showed off his arm strength and hit Sterling Shepard 28 yards down the middle of the field. Bell will need to relish this experience, because it might be awhile before he gets to quarterback the base offense again with Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas on deck.

• Save for one big play, Mike Stoops’ defense played well again. The Sooners limited Florida A&M to 2.2 yards per carry on the ground, and sacked Florida A&M QBs five times. The only blip was a 75-yard touchdown catch by Travis Harvey late in the second quarter. Harvey blew by cornerback Demontre Hurst, but Hurst was expecting help that never came from safety Jesse Paulsen, who had replaced Tony Jefferson. "I thought we played pretty well if you take out the one big play, and that was disappointing,” Stoops said. “We had a breakdown in, obviously, our coverage. Our safety went the wrong way and got mixed up in which way we were rotating in the secondary. We didn't have a deep middle player. We made a couple of mistakes on way play that cost us a touchdown. It is a great learning situation.”

• Other than the busted coverage, Paulsen actually played well relieving Jefferson, who left the game in the first quarter with an ankle sprain. Paulsen was especially impressive coming up to help against the run and finished with three tackles. "Tony has been playing well, and it is disappointing. I know his family was in town to watch him -- he twisted his ankle, so that part was disappointing, but Jesse got an opportunity,” Mike Stoops said. “I am really proud of the way he came up and tackled well. Made a mental mistake on the rotation, but overall, very pleased with the way he played." One of the big questions of the defense has been the depth of the secondary. So Paulsen’s play was encouraging.

• OU’s defensive line of the future got playing of action in the second half. Several times, the Sooners played four freshmen on the front with Mike Onuoha and Charles Tapper at end, and Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson at tackle. Phillips led the way with three tackles. "I thought for sure I saw Jordan really do a nice job inside. He's so big and powerful, he was doing a lot in there,” Bob Stoops said. “Marquis Anderson I saw do well. The young D-ends I thought looked pretty good. A good job of being ready to play." It will be interesting to see how much any of the four contribute to the rotation in crunch time. All four players have tons of potential, Phillips especially. None played when the game was on the line at UTEP.

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Practice Report: Stoops praises Brown 

August, 7, 2012
Wide receiver Justin Brown spoke with the media for the first time since transferring from Penn State. Brown flew in to Norman on Monday night, and was on the practice field Tuesday. Even though he wasn’t in pads with the rest of the team, Bob Stoops praised Brown effusively.

“He looked very impressive,” Stoops said. “I said to (wide receivers coach Jay) Norvell, ‘Wow, he going to be special here.’ ”

Stoops also said that Brown “absolutely” would return punts this season, and called him one of the top 10 punt returners in the country in 2011.

[+] EnlargeTom Wort
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerJunior linebacker Tom Wort has been fighting through various ailments during preseason practice.
Brown said it was “difficult” to leave his teammates at Penn State, but he’s excited to be at a tradition-rich school like OU with a quarterback who can sling the ball like Landry Jones. You could tell that Brown is fired up to play with a QB with Jones’ arm.

Per NCAA rules, Brown will be in shorts and shirts again tomorrow, then will be able to put on the pads.

More on Brown later.

• LB coach Tim Kish said that Tom Wort is less than 100 percent – not a good sign considering the Sooners have been in pads only a couple of days. Wort is battling an array of injuries, including to his back, shoulder and ankle – all injuries that Wort has dealt with in the past. Kish said he’s giving Jaydan Bird equal reps to try and keep Wort as fresh as possible.

Wort has been terrific when he has been healthy. He dominated the game against Florida State last season. But too often, Wort hasn’t been 100 percent. It’s looking like he might have to play hurt this season.

Right now, Kish is working Wort, Bird, Frank Shannon and Caleb Gastulem at middle linebacker, and Corey Nelson, Joe Iblioye, Aaron Franklin and true freshman Erik Striker at outside linebacker. Kish said that Striker would not be redshirting this season, and could play a lot of special teams. “He’s tough, physical,” Kish said.

• Bobby Jack Wright noted that seniors David King and R.J. Washington are having “a heck of a camp” so far. “I’m really pleased with them,” Wright said. But most of today’s discussion dealt with the younger players.

Wright said that Chuka Ndulue "has separated himself" as the clear No. 3 defensive end behind starters Washington and King. Ndulue came on late in the season last year and clearly applied himself in the offseason. He's relatively new to football but the Sooners feel really good about his upside and he seems to be starting to realize some of that potential.

Wright also said he wants to play true freshmen Charles Tapper and Mike Onuoha. In talking with Wright, Washington and others, those two are among the most talented players at the position. Even more impressive for Tapper, he didn’t even work out with the Sooners over the summer. Clearly, both guys have talent, so it will be the little things that decide if they play themselves out of a redshirt season. Either way, the future is bright at defensive end.

Wright also had glowing things to say about P.L. Lindley and Rashod Favors, who have moved to end from linebacker. He said the move had to do with their speed -- it's average for linebackers but excellent for defensive ends. He likes what they bring to the table.

It's pretty clear that Lindley, Favors and junior-college transfer Chaz Nelson are battling to be the Sooners No. 4 defensive end, but Tapper and Onuoha have the ability to make a run. The overall depth at the position is looking pretty good right now. Especially for a team replacing two NFL draft picks.

Aaron Colvin is pumped about his return to cornerback. It's the position he prefers to play and he said it feels more natural at that spot. He did note that he will do whatever is asked. In other words, he's not digging his heels in about remaining at the position. But he wants to be a corner. Said he wishes his teammates still referred to “Colvin Island,” which they termed when Colvin played the position as a freshman. He wants the one-on-one challenge.

Colvin is a difference maker at any position he plays. Don't be surprised if he joins Demontre Hurst to battle Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown and Texas' Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs for the right to be called the Big 12's top cornerback duo. This is a great year in the Big 12 for corners.

• Colvin, like pretty much every other Sooner who has been asked, had glowing things to say about Sterling Shepard. "He's the real deal," Colvin said.

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During the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. We'll analyze each player’s impact on the program since he arrived on campus, his potential impact this fall and his long-term impact. Starting with No. 1 Tony Jefferson, the daily series will go in numerical order until our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 77 Marquis Anderson
Defensive tackle, 6-foot-3, 277 pounds

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Spring ball is a time for younger players to come into their own. So far, who has impressed Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops?

"Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin are doing really well," Stoops said Thursday of the backup linebackers. "They're having great springs. They're going to play. They do a lot of really good things and they've both got great feet, they're tough, they play hard, they're both conscientious, so they're going to play."

Stoops was also high on freshmen defensive tackles Marquis Anderson and Jordan Phillips.

"Jordan Phillips is doing an excellent job,” he said. “Marquis is doing well, too."
Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips amazes his teammates almost daily.

And not just with his natural ability to blow past opposing offensive linemen.

“He’s the only 300-pound guy I’ve ever seen do a standing backflip in his pads,” said fellow defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. “And he can dunk with two hands, which is amazing.”

At 6-foot-6, now 330 pounds, Phillips looks like a tackle. But more than a tackle, he’s an athlete.

Last season, an academic snafu caused the Towanda, Kan., to arrive in Norman a couple of weeks after fall camp had started, ultimately leading him to redshirt. All it took was one practice, however, for Phillips to make his presence known. As the Sooners were warming up, Phillips did a standing backflip in front of the entire team -- forcing position coach Jackie Shipp to do something he never thought he’d have to do: outlaw backflips among his players.

“Coach Shipp was like, ‘Don’t do that no more. That’s too scary,’” McFarland recalled. “But he can do it.”

Shipp hasn’t outlawed dunking, but that could be next. Phillips is maybe the only OU defensive lineman able to throw down a two-handed jam. Despite weighing well over 300 pounds, Phillips, who averaged a double-double his final two seasons of high school, is also one of the best basketball players on the football team.

“I’ve seen him shoot from half court like they’re free throws,” McFarland said. “He’s amazing to watch. He can do whatever, honestly, I believe he could do baseball or swim.”

What the Sooners need most from Phillips is to eventually emerge as a difference-maker up front. The steady trio of Casey Walker, Stacy McGee and McFarland figure to anchor the tackle position for a third straight year. But all three will be gone after this season, which will leave a sizeable void down the middle of the defense.

The Sooners have other promising tackles. Redshirt freshman Marquis Anderson is more of a combo lineman in the mold of David King, able to play either tackle or end. Mid-semester addition Jordan Wade, meanwhile, is an intriguing prospect, though still probably a year away from seriously contributing. Then there are sophomores Damon Williams and Torrea Peterson, who, as McFarland puts it, are both capable of being “low-pad, run-stuffers.”

But none possesses the athletic tool belt Phillips does.

“He has amazing ability to do pretty much anything he wants,” McFarland said. “All he has to do is put his mind to it.”
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was on KREF SportsTalk 1400 AM on Wednesday with former OU players Teddy Lehman and Dusty Dvoracek. Here are some highlights from the interview:

On how the spring is going:
It’s going really well. We’ve got a lot of good work in. We’ve been relatively short on injuries, which has been positive. I’ve been happy. The guys are working well and getting better.

On Mike Stoops transitioning back to defensive coordinator:
It’s been been easy. Just like how I feel it would happen with me, easy to do. What you always have done. He’s transitioned into it really well. He’s implemented good things. Guys have taken to do. Going really well.

[+] EnlargeStoops
Malcolm Emmons/US PresswireOklahoma coach Bob Stoops singled out freshman Trey Metoyer as a spring standout.
On him being the same fiery Mike Stoops:
Oh yeah. To a degree. You need that kind of intensity and focus. Going really well for him.

On new linebackers coach Tim Kish:
It’s going well. Tim is very detailed in everything he gives them. Guys are taking to it well. Lot of competition there, which is always healthy. We have a new set of eyes, to see what they’re able to do, who’s making most plays, most consistently. It’s been good. Like the way it’s going.

On Trey Metoyer:
Trey has been really special. That’s really been a great thing. The two linebackers have shown up a lot, Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin, really doing well also. Really positive. We’ve been looking at P.L. Lindley at defensive end, he’s doing a nice job. Those are some guys that really stick out right now.

On replacing Travis Lewis:
We’ll see. Other guys are all doing well. Joe Ibiloye doing great. Corey Nelson has played a lot of good football for us. I see Tom (Wort) staying inside. Aaron Franklin is also doing really well. Those guys see for the most part. There’s good competition going between all of them.

On the defensive line:
Casey (Walker) has been out, and actually the last week, Stacy McGee been a little banged up. We do have some young guys. Jordan Phillips is really coming on and started making some more plays. A very talented guy. Jordan (Wade) has a ways to go, but has made good strides. Getting better, made a few plays the other day.

On DE R.J. Washington:
R.J. is doing a good job. Marquis Anderson is the other guy who I was thinking of, making a few more plays there at d-tackle. Those guys like always have to keep developing.

On who the go-to guy will be without Ryan Broyles:
I don’t know that we’ll have a go to guy. Don’t know if that’s the right way to say. More all of those guys. Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks, Trey Metoyer now and we got some other young new guys coming in we really like. More spread it out to all of them.
Jake Trotter answers readers’ questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Rick in Owasso, Okla., writes: Which OU player will be drafted first in the 2012 NFL draft and why?

Jake Trotter: There’s no doubt that defensive end/outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis is OU’s top NFL prospect this year. Lewis had a productive junior season, tore up the combine and is in fabulous shape. A source told me that the Dallas Cowboys are courting Lewis hard, and could target Lewis with their 40th overall selection. New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have all shown interest as well. Cornerback Jamell Fleming, who also lit up the combine, is rising up draft boards and could end up being a second day selection. Ryan Broyles could slide into the third round, as well, if he proves the ACL injury is behind him on his personal pro day.

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Spring position preview: Defensive tackle 

February, 24, 2012
The Sooners don’t have a Lee Roy Selmon, Tommie Harris or Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle. But they do have three experienced veterans, and a couple of intriguing prospects. Will that be enough?

What Oklahoma has: The senior trio of Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee and Casey Walker, who have anchored the defensive tackle position for the last two seasons. All three have had moments. But none has developed into an all-conference-caliber performer.

[+] EnlargeBrent Venables
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesJamarkus McFarland is one of three senior defensive tackles who will anchor Oklahoma's defense.
Of the three, McFarland has the best chance to become that player next season. He had one of the best games of his career in the win over the Iowa in the Insight Bowl. McFarland finished with five tackles, including two for loss as the OU defense dominated, holding the Hawkeyes to 2.1 yards a carry.

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Even though they didn’t have a dominant player at the position this season, the Sooners didn’t declined to take any defensive tackles in this class

This week, Bob Stoops explained why.

"It's kind of like managing your salary cap,” he said. “We can't have all our scholarships in just defensive tackles. They don't play any special teams. We have eight or nine of them, right? That's four deep if we have eight. No other position is four deep.”

OU returns Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker and Stacy McGee from last year’s defense. Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson both redshirted. There’s also Damon Williams and Torrea Peterson, assuming he’s allowed back with the team. The Sooners technically added one more defensive tackle in Jordan Wade, who signed last year, but didn’t qualify academically.

“He's all of 6-4, 315, just looks awesome,” Stoops said. “Will need to have a big winter here to get in shape, but he's an excellent athlete. He's added to that group, but again you only get so many spots."


Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.