Let’s jump right in.
KP: How much do you follow football outside of your own workouts and getting better at your own game? Are you super into college or the NFL or is it something where you’d rather focus on something else during your downtime?
SS: Yeah, I focus on something else. I watch Oklahoma State play, but that’s about it. I mean I can sit down and watch football, but if I’ve got something else to do I’m going to do something else. I’m not just a dead-set football ‘I know everything about football rosters’ (type of guy). ‘Oh he got hurt last week,’ no I don’t follow that. ‘Oh he got traded,’ I don’t follow that.
KP: You’ve talked about one thing that you wanted to work on in the past is anticipation in terms of receivers. What they’re doing and how you’re anticipating guys, and defenses, and everything. Is that something you feel like you’ve improved on over the last year?
SS: Yeah, but … if I’m honest with you, I can’t really improve on that much because I don’t know speeds of receivers at Oklahoma State yet. I don’t know that sometimes he is going to take the wrong route. Sometimes he’s going to take that extra step. I’ve got to just connect with these guys and get around them and throw routes with them to get used to them and work with them with it.
And I can work, like I said I’ve got four years. You give me four years, I can be amazing. You give me a week, I can be good. You give me a month, I’ll be great. Give me a year, I can be awesome. It depends on how fast I can get with these guys and just learn their way, learn that ‘oh he favors his right more’ so maybe I need to put it off to his left more so that he can plant off of his right’ and just little things like that.
Those .1 second things that can help and build up a 1-second difference, a 2-second difference. He makes separation, maybe I get him a ball .3 seconds faster, that’s deciding whether he scores a touchdown or not.
KP: Take me inside high school: the best thing that happened or the funniest thing that happened inside one of your huddles throughout your high school career
SS: *Laughs* I’ve had a couple of them, one of them is probably the other team talking a lot of trash. There is a safety from Denison that just kept talking and wouldn’t stop talking . Finally I just looked at him and said ‘okay I’m going to get you whether it’s the next play or the play after that or the next quarter.’ And I think it was maybe a couple plays later I hurdled him for a touchdown, and he just didn’t say anything which made me laugh.
KP: *laughing* That’s pretty good.
SS: I’ve had other moments. My right tackle, he got a holding call after we got a touchdown, and he’s just like saying sorry and I’m like ‘hey it’s okay, he didn’t hit me in the back.’ That just kind of made me laugh realizing how much he cares about my blind side. And I’ve had another one where I went to the huddle and I called the play and my left guard just looks at me like what the bleep did you just mean? So I’ve had a couple moments.
KP: Do you like to talk while you’re playing or are you just silent until somebody chirps you?
SS: I’m silent until somebody pisses me off, but even after you piss me off, you’ve really got to take me over the edge. Everybody is breakable, but for me it takes a lot to break me, especially because I have a winning spirit even if we’re down 14 points. After I score you’re going to hear me if you’re talking.
KP: We’ve got a quarterback race this fall. I think everybody is aware of that including yourself. How confident are you that you are going to be the starting quarterback at Oklahoma State in the first game in September?
SS: I don’t want to go out there and say ‘hey I’m going to get the starting job.’ No, I’m going to keep my mouth shut, and I’m going to work in silence. I appreciate all the, I guess you can say fans or whatever, people who support me and think that I’m going to get it and assume that I’m going to get it. I thank them for that.
But also I just think the people that think I’m not going to get it have negativity toward me. Because, I mean, it’s not that you don’t like me and it’s not even that you think I’m a bad person, you just think I’m not going to get it and that’s understandable. I’m a freshman walking on campus, so you don’t see this a lot.
But I’m going to work my tail off to do the best that I can not only for me, but for my mom and for my family, and my teammates. If I feel like I can give this team the best ability to win, better than some other quarterbacks, then I’m going to do the best that I can. I’m going to train. I’m going to work with them and just do the best of my ability.
KP: That’s a veteran answer right there, I like it. Okay I’ve got a couple readers send me questions We’re just going to go as quick as we can through them, I’ve got like 5 of them, Just say the first thing that pops into your head.
What was your personal best fish out of Gundy’s pond?
SS: Ah, I maybe caught like a 2-pounder. I caught a lot, but they were all under 2 pounds. He said he had a good pond. I believe him, he’s got the money to stock the ponds. It just honestly wasn’t a good day, the wind was over 10 miles an hour, the water wasn’t really hot, the fish weren’t really moving so I really had to bring it across their face if I wanted to catch them. So it just wasn’t the best day for it, but I made it work with what I had.
KP: It sounds like there’s a lot of technique to fishing, I didn’t know that.
SS: Yeah I mean I take it serious. As far as a jerk bait, how do you [do that]?
KP: Okay what’s your favorite passing concept?
SS: I really like running four verticals to a cover-3 roll, so the safeties roll, and I like hitting that backside seam. It’s a fun ball to put on a line, maybe like 20 yards. It’s a bullet. Or I like the whole, maybe a fade on the right side, a drag coming across, and a post-corner. That kind of breaks any coverage except man, maybe cover-2 at times and sometimes cover-3. Or really it can be any coverage if the linebacker just forgets what he has to do and just covers that area, but really I probably have to go with the seams.
KP: Hit Tyron Johnson on the backside seam — have you seen Tyron play?
SS: Yeah I’ve seen him play plenty of times I was there at the game when they didn’t connect on that fade vs. OU.
KP: Yeah, he’s a ballplayer. What will you be studying at OSU, that was one of the reader questions?
SS: They have a class up there that’s No. 1 that’s fire and safety. I want to be a 24 firefighter when I’m on, and the 48 when I’m off I want to be an electrician.
KP: Okay, like commercial or residential?
SS: Probably residential but as I get bigger maybe commercial, hopefully.
KP: I like that. I just built a backyard office I needed an electrician, I would have to wait for a while…
Okay last one, what are your thoughts on how 247, Rivals, and Scout evaluate high school players to give them their star ranking? You’ve obviously been through the process…
SS: *cuts Kyle off* I hate it.
KP: Why do you hate it?
SS: I just don’t like it. I feel like if you’re popular you’re good. If you’re not popular then you’re not good, you get three stars. I know plenty of people that have four stars, five stars, and I’ve seen a three-star that plays better. It’s just, it’s a mindset thing, and a lot of these five stars think that ‘hey I’ve got five stars I’m good, I’m done I ain’t gotta work anymore, I don’t got to get any better’, and it doesn’t work like that.
Hard work beats talent. I don’t care how talented you are, and so honestly I could care less about some stars. I could care less about how good he is or how good he is, I want to see you play with my own eyes. I want to see your grit. I want to see what you do off the field. I want to see what you do in your free time. I want to see how much you’re dedicated to the game, and how much do you want to get better, not only as an athlete but as a person. It’s not just about football, football doesn’t just revolve around this world. It may be a big thing it may be a big priority but it It’s not the number one thing.