Flow­ers: Free safety em­braces down­hill play

Tulsa World - - Sports - Ken­drick Marshall 918-581-8378 ken­drick.marshall @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @KD_Mar­shall guards Kameron

used to tell me,” he said. “We went back and forth learn­ing each other's spots, and we did it just in case any­one went down. It's just about trust­ing your in­stincts more at free safety.”

That work has al­lowed Flow­ers to not only be one of the top tack­lers in the Big 12, but still be ef­fec­tive in cov­er­age, as ev­i­denced by his two in­ter­cep­tions and five pass breakups, which lead the sec­ondary.

Flow­ers, ex­plains de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Glenn Spencer, is able to be a ver­sa­tile com­mod­ity based on how the game­plan is tai­lored for that week's op­po­nent.

“It kind of de­pends on the sit­u­a­tion they're play­ing to what he's go­ing to be de­manded to do that week,” said Spencer. “At cer­tain looks, he might roll up and be an edge de­fender. Some­times he might be a C gap (lined up against a tight end or of­fen­sive tackle) de­fender. Some­times he might not have those op­por­tu­ni­ties in the game.

“Ev­ery week you get a dif­fer­ent fla­vor that will de­ter­mine how many tackle op­por­tu­ni­ties he has. He's def­i­nitely played well.”

Con­stantly be­ing around the foot­ball hasn't taken phys­i­cal toll on Flow­ers, who has em­braced the re­al­ity he will beaten up af­ter most games.

“I'm do­ing great,” said Flow­ers, who fine tunes his body with yoga, cold tank treat­ments and stretch­ing ex­er­cises to stay fresh. “I've wo­ken up sore since mid­dle school. I'm prob­a­bly sore right now and don't even know it. You have to be vi­o­lent. Foot­ball is a col­li­sion game. You're ei­ther go­ing to be the ham­mer or the nail. I'm not try­ing to be the nail.” along

Jef­frey Car­roll was one of three unan­i­mous pre­sea­son first-team All-Big 12 bas­ket­ball se­lec­tions, the league an­nounced Thurs­day.

Car­roll, Kansas' Devonte Gra­ham and West Vir­ginia's Jevon Carter were unan­i­mous choices. TCU's Vladimir Brodzian­sky and Texas Tech's Zach Smith rounded out the first team.

Pre­sea­son awards were voted on by the league's head coaches.

Gra­ham was the pre­sea­son player of the year. KU's Malik New­man, a Mis­sis­sippi State trans­fer, was named new­comer of the year, and Texas for­ward Mo­hamed Bamba was pre­sea­son fresh­man of the year.

Car­roll av­er­aged 17.5 points and 6.6 re­bounds per game last sea­son, shoot­ing 44.4 per­cent from 3-point range. He and Mitchell Solomon are the lone starters back on a team that reached the NCAA Tour­na­ment last sea­son.

Ok­la­homa

Malik New­man, Kansas

Pre­sea­son Fresh­man of the Year: Mo­hamed Bamba, Texas

MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Ok­la­homa State's Tre Flow­ers (left) closes in on Texas Tech's Justin Stock­ton dur­ing the Cow­boys' 41-34 win over the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas, on Sept. 30.

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