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OU has big shoes to fill at kicker
Stoops implies Sooners might use both Stevens and Way to replace three-year starter Hartley

NORMAN — Oklahoma faces the unenviable challenge next season of replacing Garrett Hartley, one of the most successful kickers in Sooner history.

Hartley started for more than three years and finished with 47 career field goals, one away from tying the school record.

That kind of constancy can be taken for granted.

To win a third straight Big 12 Championship and remain in the national title chase, OU is almost assured of needing a big kick or two.

But who will the Sooners be relying on to deliver those clutch kicks — redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens or incoming freshman Tress Way?

The answer could be both, at least according to Sooner coach Bob Stoops.

During his signing-day press conference last week, Stoops hinted that OU could be employing a two-kicker system next fall.

"We got to watch (Way) in camp. He's a big, strong guy, good size, powerful leg,” Stoops said. "Along with his kickoffs, he was consistently kicking it into the end zone. We're not at all displeased (with) Jimmy Stevens (who) is doing an excellent job for us — he's coming along.

"We'll just see if the power is there.”

What Stoops is implying is that Stevens could be coming in on shorter field goals and extra points while Way could handle longer field goals and kickoffs.

All of which makes sense.

That might be the best solution to compensate for the loss of such an effective and complete kicker like Hartley.

Stevens broke the national high school record for career field goals while at Heritage Hall and is automatic on field goals inside 40 yards.

But at only 5-foot-5, 149 pounds, Stevens might not have the power to consistently connect on longer field goals or boot the ball into the end zone on kickoffs — which is critical in limiting the opponent's field position.

Way, meanwhile, essentially earned a scholarship out of Tulsa Union by displaying a powerful leg to the Sooner coaches on both kicks and punts during camp workouts.

Way is a much bigger athlete (6-1, 190) than Stevens and could become the power kicker on the team as well as the punter after senior Mike Knall graduates.

"I think Tress has a way to really complement (Stevens) and have a little bit longer leg when we need it,” Stoops said. "We'll just see. He gives us a lot of options.”


OU kicker Jimmy Stevens broke the national high school record for career field goals while he was at Heritage Hall. BY Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Related Photos
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: University of Oklahoma (OU) kicker Jimmy Stevens practices during a football scrimmage at Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman,  Oklahoma on Saturday August 11, 2007.  BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: kod

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: University of Oklahoma (OU) kicker Jimmy Stevens practices during a football scrimmage at Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday August 11, 2007. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: kod

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7c4004d6a8cc899e36cfbe30e3aa3663.jpg" alt="Photo - COLLEGE FOOTBALL: University of Oklahoma (OU) kicker Jimmy Stevens practices during a football scrimmage at Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday August 11, 2007. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: kod" title="COLLEGE FOOTBALL: University of Oklahoma (OU) kicker Jimmy Stevens practices during a football scrimmage at Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday August 11, 2007. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: kod"><figcaption>COLLEGE FOOTBALL: University of Oklahoma (OU) kicker Jimmy Stevens practices during a football scrimmage at Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday August 11, 2007. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: kod</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1d4ec60fc92509bdfc3f5a9fdf941f05.jpg" alt="Photo - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tress Way, Tulsa Union, poses for a photo in the OPUBCO studio for The Oklahoman's All-State Football Team, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. By Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD" title="HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tress Way, Tulsa Union, poses for a photo in the OPUBCO studio for The Oklahoman's All-State Football Team, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. By Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD"><figcaption>HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tress Way, Tulsa Union, poses for a photo in the OPUBCO studio for The Oklahoman's All-State Football Team, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. By Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD</figcaption></figure>
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