When it comes to keeping up with Chip Kelly’s tempo, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops doesn’t anticipate Lane Johnson having any issues.
“Lane can go all day,” Stoops said. “He’s as well-conditioned and framed an athlete as we’ve ever had here. I’ll be surprised if he ever needs [to be] spelled out. He can go every snap. He’s used to that, and he’s been trained to do that.”
The Sooners went up-tempo quite a bit last year and averaged 77.3 plays per game. Oregon, meanwhile, averaged 81.5.
Leading up to the draft, many wondered whether Kelly’s college background might give him an advantage when scouting potential prospects. He said Thursday that he talked to Stoops “extensively” last week as the Eagles went through their draft prep.
“I know Bob real well and I know what he thinks of him [Johnson] and how much they thought he was a special player,” Kelly said. “It took him a couple years to kind of figure out where he was going to exactly fit, but I think that’s a positive for us that he doesn’t have that many years of experience, because I think his upside is just so huge. It’s not one of those deals what you see is what you get. I really think he has a very high ceiling.”
Stoops said he wasn’t surprised at all that Johnson vaulted into a top-five selection.
“We could tell within a couple of practices that this is going to fit him perfectly,” Stoops said. “I said to him right then, ‘You watch, you’re going to be a first-, second-round draft choice after this’ within the first week or so.”
The number one word you will hear associated with Johnson is athleticism. That’s what made him appealing to Kelly and the Eagles. And that’s why he became one of the top tackle prospects in this class.
Stoops said he wasn’t surprised at all to see the way Johnson dominated at the Combine.
“We’ve seen him run our gassers, our three-trippers, over and back,” Stoops said. “He’s in front of the D-Ends and the D-Linemen by 10, 15 yards every day. So we knew as soon as they would test him, they’re going to be shocked at what his upside is.”
Asked about Johnson’s ceiling, Stoops added, “I don’t know. I don’t have any idea. But he’s not close to it right now, and he’s really good right now.”