Oklahoma's Frank Alexander has done something that is proving difficult for former five-star prodigy R.J. Washington. Alexander is carving out a niche for himself as a potential superstar on the defensive line.
Alexander was slowed last season when an altercation at a night club left him hobbled, but when Auston English suffered numerous injuries during the season, Alexander stepped in and filled the vacant slot. Heading into the 2009 season, he's making a name for himself as one of the best young defensive ends in the Big 12 Conference.
SoonerScoop.com's L.P. Pannell caught up with Alexander to talk about fall camp and the upcoming season.
Q: How was the summer, get to see any good movies?
Frank Alexander: No, I was didn't get to see too many movies, I was kind of tired after all those summer workouts. But I do want to see that new GI Joe movie, maybe if I get a chance here in the next week or two I'll get out and go see it.
Q: How are you going to find any time in the next few weeks with practices beginning and school starting?
Alexander: Hopefully Coach Stoops will take us to see it during one of the two-a-days (laughing).
Q: You overcame a lot of things last fall. Now that your one of the guys whose proven yourself, how is this different mentally for you?
Alexander: I don't know if it is much different. I'm coming in this year, the exact same as I did last year. I got a lot of things I want to work on. Hopefully I finish fall workouts a better player than I am today and hopefully God's plan is that I'll be able to make it a full season and hopefully I'm there to make some big plays for my teammates.
Q: What was the incident like for you last year when you were assaulted in that club?
Alexander: It was hard. It was tough because I had just gotten done sitting out my whole freshman year. I finally got to play in that first game last season and then all of the sudden I had things taken from me again.
Q: How did you overcome it?
Alexander: Myself and my mom and dad spent lots of nights praying. When I came back I just felt like I had something to prove. I wanted to go out there so bad and just enjoy the second opportunity God gave me and things seemed to fall into place, week by week. The event really opened my eyes though. It made me question some of the people I was hanging around with, the places I was often going to at night. I think it was God paving a different path for me to walk down and it's amazing how much my life has changed in less than a year.
Q: Is the defense going to carry the offense this year?
Alexander: Well we're both working hard to achieve our goals. You know our first is to go after that Big 12 trophy and then our second is to grab that national championship trophy. I guess you can say we might have the upper hand in the battle this year against the offense but both sides of the ball are working hard and I think we're more focused on winning games than who has the upper edge between the offense and defense.
Q: Talk about this defensive line and the struggle week in and week out to compete for a starting job
Alexander: It's unbelievable, I've never seen competition so cut throat like it is on that line. Every day in practice is like a new day. It's not like being at other positions where you know after two or three weeks where everybody stands. On the line we are competing nearly every play to see if you stay in there or if someone is coming in. But that's what makes us so good, there's no question whatever guy is on that field is giving 100 percent. There are no relax plays or your gonna be out of there real quick.
Q: How does Auston look, last year was kind of a rough year for him?
Alexander: Auston will be fine. I think the injury bug bit him one to many times last year and he never really got healthy enough to be as good as he wanted. But with his work ethic and his "go drive" he'll be fine. If he's healthy this year look out.