NORMAN, Okla. -- Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said goodbye to Oklahoma, his home state, when his junior season ended. That doesn’t mean he’s gone. His former teammates are still feeling the effects of the 298-pound possible No. 1 pick’s wake.
Jamarkus McFarland spent plenty of time learning from the star from his front-row seat in practice.
“When someone leaves then you have to fill those shoes,” McFarland said. “Automatically when you come into Oklahoma you have that leadership role branded in you somewhere. You just have to bring it out when the time is needed.”
McFarland came to Oklahoma last season at No. 54 in the ESPNU 150, the Sooners highest-rated recruit of the 2009 class.
He appeared in just seven games as a freshman, but notched 2.5 sacks and eight tackles. With McCoy moving on, he’s the likely replacement, and McFarland says all it takes to drain some additional advice from McCoy, an All-Big 12 performer and Lombardi Award finalist, is a phone call.
McCoy’s biggest impact doesn’t come during those conversations. It came when he was still the campus celebrity patrolling Norman, another role McFarland hopes to assume.
“I take what he does in the games, I take what he does in practice, what he does in the locker room, what he does at home, what he does in the media,” McFarland said. “I piece it piece-by-piece and see what I can take out of it to take his personality that’s got him to where he wants to be right now.”
For McFarland, duplicating McCoy’s 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season will be difficult. But replacing the more intangible aspects of McCoy’s persona is on McFarland’s list, too.
“He was known just as much on campus as he was on the field, and that’s the way I want to be,” McFarland said. “I don’t want to be 97. I want to be known as Jamarkus McFarland, as a good person off the field just as on the field like he was.”