Oklahoma true freshmen wide receiver Kenny Stills has lived up to the hype and more. The freshmen All-American has proven he was a major find for Jay Norvell and the Oklahoma offense with a great first season at Oklahoma. On Monday, Stills talked about the season that launched his career and how much better this Sooner offense can get in the future.
I'm curious, we talked back in August back before practice began and you felt like you had gotten a head start by being here for a while. Was there a point in the season where you felt like, 'huh, I didn't know as much as I thought I knew.'
Definitely. We're looking at film yesterday and the day before that and I was like, 'wow, I was so young at that point.' I'm still continuing the learn and I felt like every game I took a bigger step. I'm still continuing to learn out there and I looked back on it and I was real young and I still am now.
Being a freshmen, do you have nerves going into a game this big?
You know, not at all. It's just another game for us. We try to go out there and just play and it's cool that we're going closer to home and we're going to get some more family members there and that's cool to me and I'm more worried about that than anything else.
If you could put together a Kenny Stills freshmen highlight reel, what plays would you want to be on it and you can't cop out and say it was a block nobody say - well, maybe the play where you laid the guy out on the Ryan Broyles touchdown run…
My highlight reel? I have no clue because it seems like it all went by so fast. I know Coach Stoops might get mad at me, but that spike against Texas Tech. That might be up there. That might start it actually. The Big 12 Championship definitely. That would start it and I kind of looked at it afterwards and Cam made some big plays and just to go out there and contribute as a freshmen and to be able to contribute to that championship.
It's interesting because I look at that play at Baylor and I look at that play at Nebraska and it's kind of like you let the defender bounce off of you and you make that play. Is that something you plan or is that a natural instinct you have?
It's definitely something we work on and we'll put two guys at practice, one on the left side and one of the right side and you have to go and make a play on the ball. You just kind of shield the ball with your body and you go out there and make the catch.
It seems like with those plays and with Cameron Kenney, did you feel like Landry had more trust in you guys as the season went along?
Yeah, definitely. Even when it comes to practice, it's more just talking about (Landry's) not correcting me as much and he's not yelling at me as much about different things. He feels like I'm getting the grasp of things and he's starting to trust us a lot more.
I would say his voice carries a lot more weight after being a Big 12 Championship quarterback doesn't it?
I wouldn't say that. He's still a normal guy to us. He's still a human being. We all contributed to that and I don't feel like he's a bigger person because of that and I don't' feel like he feels that way either. He's still the same old person and he says the same old stuff to us and we're just trying to move on to the next game.
Everybody, I assume, had question about you when you were younger, they had questions about Cameron Kenney last year, they had questions about Landry last year. What does it mean to finish the season the way you did moving forward?
It means a lot obviously. For us to struggle last year. We're not done. We want to go out there and finish this game and we haven't been successful in the Fiesta Bowl before, it's really big for us to go out there and finish.
Is that a big part of this, if you win the Fiesta Bowl then people are going to start talking about you as a national championship contender next year.
You know, we feel like whatever happens happens with that. We just want to go out and finish this season. That's the biggest deal for us.
You must have a great deal of optimism considering how many young players have played prominent roles. Talk about the future.
The future. I haven't looked too far into next year but it will be nice for us to win the Fiesta Bowl and we have a lot of young guys coming back and that's going to be huge for us. We're going to build in the summer time again and try and go back at it again next year.
What did you say to Roy Finch? Obviously another tough situation for him.
You know, Roy is so - I don't know what the word is - he's always so positive about everything. Roy's okay and he's okay with it. He kind of puts everything in God's hands and I really appreciate that about Roy. He's in the weight room doing everything he can and doing everything he can to get back.
Hard for you to see him go down again?
Definitely. We're going to miss Roy out there on the field and somebody else is going to have to step up.
Freshmen All-American. Talk about it.
That's huge for me. It's definitely a blessing. I wouldn't have seen that or thought about that coming into this year. I definitely wasn't expecting anything like that. That's huge for me and I still really don't believe it.
Do you follow other guys around the country? Do you know who else is on that list and who else was considered?
A little bit. I know Robert Woods from USC just because he's a California guy. I look for Tony (Jefferson) on defense and I look for guys that I know, definitely.
You go into recruiting and everybody was talking about the (Kyle) Prater kid. Is it almost like mission accomplished to be that effective as a freshmen? You were a highly ranked guy but obviously people were talking about other guys besides you.
Yeah. It's big for me to go out there and prove myself. I've always talked about being that I wasn't the No. 1 or No. 2 guy that I wanted to be. It was big for me to be an All-American but I think that's just going to push me to work harder. I was second team or whatever and I always want to be the best. It's just going to push me to work a lot harder.
Did this season show you how much better you can get or how much better you need to be?
Definitely. Looking at the film and seeing how young I was or the mistakes I made and the things I did wrong, it kind of made games a little closer or made for passes that were interceptions. I'm definitely ready for this game and being able to improve for next season.
What has Ryan really done to help you guys improve this year?
Ryan is kind of a silent leader. He shows it with his routes. Him just being out there and him thinking about coming back is going to be huge for us and he's been in the offense and knows the system. He's always there to just correct us.
Are you a part of that trying to convince him to come back?
A little bit. Every day we kind of give him a little bit of smack talk about the other receivers that would be in the draft with him. Ryan is going to do what he's going to do and we have no control over that. I'm just happy that he's here with us right now and we're going to do the best with what we can next year.