Brett Deering/Getty Images
Tony Jefferson has worked predominantly from the Roybacker, or strong-side linebacker slot for the Sooners during his first two seasons. The role gained its name from former Oklahoma playmaker Roy Williams.
Mike Stoops, brother of head coach Bob Stoops and owner of the new defensive coordinator role, sees similarities between the two athletes.
“They’re similar in some ways, and they both understand football very well,” said Stoops per The Oklahoman. “When you teach them, they pick up things very well. Tony’s not as big as Roy, but he has a lot of the same components. He has a knack for making big plays.”
That deep football knowledge and playmaking tendency is what will allow Jefferson to make a seamless transition to a new full-time position in 2012. In a move to utilize the most talent at the most time, Jefferson will be slotted at safety next season.
“That’s where we feel like we can utilize his abilities and his strengths,” said Mike Stoops per ESPN.com. “Tony is a very, very talented player. He can be good anywhere he plays. He’s very easy to coach, highly instinctual and is a tremendous tackler.”
His presence should go a long way in calming a unit which allowed 243.6 passing yards a game in 2011.