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Dean's Blog: Dede Westbrook Meeting Expectations After Getting Some Sense Knocked Into Him

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Like many of his mates in this strong start for the Sooners in 2015, DeDe Westbrook has played up to expectations. The skinny wide receiver is listed at (but not really) 6-1, probably weighing 165 or 170 pounds, and was offered by the Texas Techs of the world, but not UT, A&M, or the schools who have their pick of the litter of players, at places like Blinn Community College.

A HITCH IN DEDE’S GET-ALONG

Westbrook made plays the minute he hit the practice field in the spring and continued right through the summer, fall camp, and now four games into an undefeated start. DeDe tells me he’s been timed under 4.4 in the forty, and shows great explosion after catching the ball. Unlike many, Westbrook plays as fast as he times. He’s taking hitches and quick screens and turning north or south with a purpose and will have a quick 10 yards if secondaries aren’t sound and physical. 

OFFENSIVE UPGRADE DRAMATIC WHEN YOU BREAK IT DOWN

Bob Stoops often talks about how teams change in college from year to year, and the addition of new faces on this offense certainly make his point valid. Think about these playmakers who are new to the scene: Most importantly the orchestrator of it all, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, QB Baker Mayfield, tight end Mark Andrews, running back Joe Mixon and Westbrook. There are actually others, but these five have been most responsible for the makeover from a 2014 offense that wasn't creative, wasn't beating anyone in play-calling, while getting bumpy quarterback play and losing its only receiving threat (Sterling Shepard) in the middle of the season. Imagine the potency of this 2015 offense and it’s marked improvement from the previous season if it had the 2014 offensive line. Or an average Stoops line. 

Westbrook is pulling his load, although two fumbles — which he says is more than he’s ever had in a season — is problematic. You gotta believe film study will lead opponents to strip Westbrook every time he touches the ball. Otherwise, his speed has helped him gain invaluable separation and his pass catching ability is outstanding. He’s already made big catches — short and long — and will be called upon to beat a spotty, 4 and 5-star laden Texas secondary in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. 

MOUTHPIECE LESSON LEARNED

DeDe didn’t take much pounding in earning junior college all-American the past two seasons. But he’s taking a pounding at the FBS level and will need to beef up in the offseason. Westbrook never wore a mouthpiece until the middle part of the first quarter in OU’s opener against Akron. The story behind it is kinda fun. I hope you watch and listen to the attached 1-on-1 with DeDe and Thursday night’s airing of my Sooner Spotlight feature.

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