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OU 2010 Players to Watch, Day 3: Sam Proctor

20100214-OU Players to Watch 20100214-OU Players to Watch

Originally Published: Feb 16, 2010 6:29 PM CDT

Also on Oklahoma Sports:
-OSU Player to Watch, Day 3: Jeremy Smith
-Tulsa Player to Watch, Day 3: Tanner Antle

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

DB Sam Proctor


Hailing from Pearland, Texas – which is near Houston – Proctor played quarterback in high school, but was more active as a runner. During his senior year, he completed more than 50 percent of his passes while rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was recruited as an athlete and redshirted in 2007. He made his debut in 2008 mainly on special teams, but saw more action last year as a safety.

Why he’s on the list:

The Sooners’ secondary will be one of the team’s biggest question marks going into the season thanks to the departures of Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson. OU will need solid play from its safeties as it brings new cornerbacks into the starting lineup. Proctor is a talented athlete and the coaching staff has liked him since he arrived in Norman, but it has taken him some time to shift to safety.

Best-case scenario:

Proctor proves the coaches’ faith in him is well placed and becomes to the athletic safety the Sooners have been looking for. He proves to have strong awareness and is able to come up and play the run as well as help the young cornerbacks in coverage. His athleticism prevents teams from dominating the middle of the field and frees the linebackers to blitz more.

Worst-case scenario:

Proctor struggles in the passing game, which leaves the new corners susceptible to big plays. He is unable to read offenses appropriately, which forces Brent Venables to keep his linebackers in coverage to help. Without the dominant defensive line the Sooners enjoyed last season, an inability to blitz results in a complete lack of pressure on the quarterback.

My take:

There must be a reason why Bob Stoops has spoken so highly about Proctor. To develop such a high opinion, he must have shown flashes during practice, but fans have not gotten to see it yet. Proctor has had three years to become acclimated to the safety position, so by now he should certainly know the basics.

Proctor has already proven to be a strong tackler both on defense and special teams, so that shouldn’t be a problem. The key to his play will be how well he can read offenses. Proctor played quarterback in high school, which generally makes it easier for players to read and react. His work ethic will also be key. To succeed at safety, he will need to study film and know what offenses are going to do before they do it.

Other OU players to watch (click on the links below to read the full stories):
-Day 1: WR Jaz Reynolds
-Day 2: OL Stephen Good

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