Tony Jefferson's Dynamic Talents Will Help Mike Stoops Reshuffle Sooners Defense

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IApril 13, 2012

Photo Credit: US Presswire
Photo Credit: US Presswire

Tony Jefferson is not only a dynamic talent who has become a leader, but his versatility has also allowed the Oklahoma coaching staff to use him at various positions.

This year, new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has decided to plant Jefferson back at his natural position of safety after Jefferson was used mostly as a SAM linebacker last season.

Stoops has also dabbled in using Aaron Colvin at his natural position of cornerback if he returns 100 percent healthy and shows the skills he did in 2011.

Both moves could prove to be difference-makers for Oklahoma, and it's because of Jefferson that Stoops has the ability to be creative after the Sooners gave up 243.6 passing yards per game last season (I'll veer away from talking about the Baylor game, in fear of backlash from Sooners fans everywhere).

This is what a player of Jefferson's caliber and demeanor does for a program. Jefferson could have easily complained last season with his move to linebacker, instead of being the dedicated leader that he was. He not only has the size and athleticism to be a game-changer, he has the ability of lifting the secondary with his leadership this season, playing a pivotal part at the back end.

There is a lot to like about the direction Stoops is going this spring. He must have realized that, while having Jefferson at SAM linebacker was beneficial, it took him away from where he could really make an impact, and the Oklahoma secondary suffered for it.

This year, the Sooners no longer have pro product Jamell Fleming, which makes Jefferson's role at safety even more important. If the secondary can somehow gel without Fleming, with Jefferson, Demontre Hurst and potentially Colvin leading the charge, it makes the Sooners a prime contender for a BCS bowl and beyond.

If the Sooners make it to a BCS bowl game next season, Jefferson will be one of the key parts that got them there.


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