Demontre Hurst's OU career is quickly winding down
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Sunday, April 08, 2012
4/08/12 at 7:55 AM
NORMAN - In a blink, Demontre Hurst has but three spring practices left to go in his college football career.
"You look up and I'm a senior and I've played three years and hadn't even realized it yet," said Hurst, the elder statesman of Oklahoma's 2012 defense.
College athletes always seem a little more fast-tracked when they don't redshirt. Hurst thrust himself into a position for playing time as a true freshman, then started as a sophomore and junior. In his career, he's started 27 games, fourth-most on the team and easily the most on the defense.
When Hurst arrived from Lancaster, Texas, he caught the coaches' eye early in training camp.
"Demontre Hurst," Bob Stoops said after the first day of full pads in 2009, "is as good a young guy as we have ever brought in here."
The 5-foot-10, 181-pound Hurst started at field cornerback the past two seasons opposite Jamell Fleming, who played boundary corner. Now Fleming is off to the NFL and Hurst finds himself teaching the next generation of players like Lamar Harris, Joe Powell, Gabe Lynn, Julian Wilson and Kass Everett.
"Jamell," Hurst said, "is pretty much the best corner I've played with since I've been here. He brought a lot to the table. He was smart, fast, just a great athlete. Losing him, it's gonna be some big shoes to fill.
"I think that's the motivation for me and the other guys, to be in that position that Jamell was. Because he was a great athlete, we all looked up to him, he killed the (NFL scouting) combine, he had a great bowl game and he's just lit it up for them."
Hurst felt a sudden urgency in January and February during those grinding winter workouts, and he easily found the motivation to get through.
"Being a senior, just trying to remember the games we lost last year, kind of how the secondary played," Hurst said. "We don't want to be like that no more, so this whole winter, we've been embracing with each other, riding together, really going through workouts together. We've been strong the whole winter, bringing it over to the spring so we're gonna be stronger here."
Hurst, second-team All-Big 12 last season, has had three position coaches during his career, from Bobby Jack Wright his freshman year to Willie Martinez his sophomore and junior years to Mike Stoops this year. He said Stoops and Martinez have similar personalities and coaching demeanors.
Stoops, Hurst said, is "coaching us the way he wants to coach us, and we have to accept that. So I'm being humble and just being coached by the guy. So we're embracing what he has to bring to the table."
Mike Stoops' first season back in Norman coaching Sooner defensive backs was cushioned a bit by having a player like Hurst.
"Demontre is a very experienced player who plays with great technique," Stoops said. "I think that's what you get from Demontre every time he steps on the field. That's got to be a consistent element to our team for us to be effective. He's the leader back there."
Maybe it was the morass of 2009 coupled with the dismay of unfulfilled expectations of 2011 that made Hurst's career seem to go so fast.
At places like Oklahoma, disappointing seasons are relatively few and thus stand out. Still, if OU can return to the Big 12 pinnacle this season, it'd be Hurst's second conference crown.
"Seems like I just got here," he said. "I remember the first spring, first two-a-days, everything. It's been different. A lot of changes. But it's been a good trip."
Original Print Headline: Hurst's career quickly winding down
John E. Hoover 918-581-8384
OU's Demontre Hurst, shown returning an interception for a touchdown last season against Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Hurst, who will be a senior this fall, is the most experienced member of the Sooners' secondary. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World