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Old 08-20-2009   #1
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Default With okam less is more

Many have seen his potential. We may now be able to enjoy his production.

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By losing weight, Texans DT Frank Okam believes he has improved his agility, his footwork and even his strength

After an impressive preseason game at Kansas City, defensive tackle Frank Okam is raising more than a few eyebrows around Texans training camp.

“Frank was impressive in the game,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “He played a lot of plays. You're starting to see young veteran backup players starting to play like they belong on the field a lot, and that's important for our team. It's a big step forward for Frank.”

Okam, a former University of Texas star, was honored to be on the receiving end of a compliment from Kubiak, a former Texas A&M Aggie, but it was an even stranger scene after Wednesday morning's practice when several Texans fans shouted his first name just to congratulate his good play.

Okam is more accustomed to people calling him a bust or a letdown, but as a fifth-round pick entering his second season, he's prepared to grow into a bigger role.

“Sure, I had two batted balls, but after watching the film, there's still a lot of things that I can improve on,” Okam said. “I'm pleased with my play, and I'm glad the coaches are complimenting me, but I still have plenty of work to do to make myself better.”

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Okam's value to the Texans' defense has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

It seems like a long two months ago when he showed up at OTAs overweight, much to the displeasure of Kubiak, who said in June that Okam couldn't run stunts and be as athletic as he needed to be if he weighed 360 pounds. Still the team's heaviest player, Okam currently weighs about 335 pounds but is more agile than he has been in a long time.

A weighty commitment

As a senior at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Okam ran a 4.9 40-yard dash and posted a 29-inch vertical leap, impressive abilities to complement his strength. But at UT and after his rookie season with the Texans, Okam developed a reputation for not being able to keep his weight down.

But that's changing.

“I knew I had to make a commitment to help this team any way possible,” he said.

So Okam worked vigorously throughout the summer with Texans strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright and stayed true to his diet. One of the things people were talking about the first day of training camp was how much he had slimmed down. Many were concerned that with the weight loss, he had lost his power.

Plenty of power

“Actually, I got a little stronger,” Okam said. “It was part of a program they set out for me, and I just went by it to the T, and it all took care of itself. I'm feeling much more capable of doing the things that I need to be doing, and my footwork has improved.”

Okam's power has always been one of his strengths as a defensive tackle. If he's not the strongest player on the team, he's at least in contention.

“I'd say it's pretty close between me and Mario (Williams),” Okam said. “Mario's a freak of nature. There are some lifts where I can do more than him, and there's probably a lot of lifts where he can do more than me.

“But I'm up there — definitely top three.”
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Old 08-20-2009   #2
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Default Re: With okam less is more

Okam calls Mario a freak of nature! LOL
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Old 08-20-2009   #3
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Default Re: With okam less is more

Pretty excited by Okam's progress so far, hopefully he continues to show up in games and keeps turning up that motor.
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Old 08-20-2009   #4
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Default Re: With okam less is more

Hard to say that weight loss is the key component of Okam's emergence. I'd say it was more due to playing like a big mean badass and not an even bigger softy mcsoftersons. Just kiddin'....but really, he looks like he dropped 50 pounds, not 20. I don't know about stronger, maybe everything just feels lighter haha....His impact was noticeable on several plays. He looks like a guy whose effort is catching up to his talent. I'd love to see where his progression goes next but I'll enjoy this first step for what it is.

Top 3? Mario, Okam....who?
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Old 08-20-2009   #5
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Default Re: With okam less is more

If Smith and Kubiak continue to have the kinds of drafts they've been having, where they find a Frank Okam in the 5th round, there will be no stopping this team for years to come.
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Old 08-20-2009   #6
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Default Re: With okam less is more

It still bothers me that he showed up to OTAs grossly out of shape - but right now, he's showing improvement - and more than that, he's showing it ON THE FIELD. So I'm pretty excited.
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Old 08-20-2009   #7
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by DiehardChris View Post
It still bothers me that he showed up to OTAs grossly out of shape - but right now, he's showing improvement - and more than that, he's showing it ON THE FIELD. So I'm pretty excited.
Sometimes, a guy just needs a wake-up call. Getting his then-ample behind chewed at OTA's because of his weight may have been his. Hopefully, his weighty arrival at OTA's (or, more accurately, the way he responded afterwards) will go down as the turning point in his career. If he plays like he did Saturday between September 2009 and (hopefully) February 2010, no one will care what he was doing between January and May of 2009.
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Old 08-20-2009   #8
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Default Re: With okam less is more

Hopefully he's not like most of us that once we lose weight we go back to our old diet and non-exercise program, hopefully he stays with it and continues to workout get stronger and lose another 10 lbs..
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Old 08-20-2009   #9
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Default Re: With okam less is more

Why the hell cant TJ get his wake up call?
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Old 08-20-2009   #10
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Why the hell cant TJ get his wake up call?
He's gotten plenty of them. He just hits the snooze button and goes back to sleep.
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Old 08-20-2009   #11
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by Hooston Texan View Post
Sometimes, a guy just needs a wake-up call.
I dunno maybe he bombed his LSAT ?
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Old 08-20-2009   #12
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Default Re: With okam less is more

I've been hearing this stuff about Okam for like 3 straight years now. Wake me up when this huge improvement actually happens.
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Old 08-20-2009   #13
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Default Re: With okam less is more

I read this article on chron.com this morning. What bothers me about Okam is he seems to be one of those type of people/players who will have to stay on top of his weight/eating habits for the rest of his life. It will require a lot of discipline on his part and I'm not sure, at this point, if he has that or not. If he stays with it over the span of 2 or 3 years, especially during the off season, it could bode well for his health and career, not to mention the Texans D-line play. Time will tell. JMHO!
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Old 08-20-2009   #14
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Default Re: With okam less is more

I think Brice McCain should walk up to Okam and slap him silly then run using his 4.33 speed to stay just out of Frank's reach. After about ten minutes, as Okam hangs his head panting, McCain slips up behind him and kicks him in the butt. A few days of this and the NT will be at 310lbs and hopefully as mad as hell. My concern with this is when game one whistle blows, Okam will turn from the LOS and bull rush the corner and body slam the little guy who is so shocked that Okam could move that quickly.
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Old 08-20-2009   #15
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by Texecutioner View Post
I've been hearing this stuff about Okam for like 3 straight years now. Wake me up when this huge improvement actually happens.
This is the beginning of his 2nd season. The huge improvement just happened last Saturday!! Did you see Okam? He was on fire at times. That's a huge improvement over being inactive for 80% of the year. We'll see if it was real or not if that kind of play continues but there's no denying that was a leap for Okam.

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I think Brice McCain should walk up to Okam and slap him silly then run using his 4.33 speed to stay just out of Frank's reach. After about ten minutes, as Okam hangs his head panting, McCain slips up behind him and kicks him in the butt. A few days of this and the NT will be at 310lbs and hopefully as mad as hell. My concern with this is when game one whistle blows, Okam will turn from the LOS and bull rush the corner and body slam the little guy who is so shocked that Okam could move that quickly.
Nice!
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Old 08-20-2009   #16
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by TimeKiller View Post
This is the beginning of his 2nd season. The huge improvement just happened last Saturday!! Did you see Okam? He was on fire at times. That's a huge improvement over being inactive for 80% of the year. We'll see if it was real or not if that kind of play continues but there's no denying that was a leap for Okam.
I figured he was going back to Okam's college days. He disappeared in his junior or senior year after looking dominant early iirc.
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Old 08-20-2009   #17
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
I figured he was going back to Okam's college days. He disappeared in his junior or senior year after looking dominant early iirc.
Like many college players going to NFL I think Frank figured he could just show up and place his large corpuscle in the main shipping lanes like a u-boat and be successful. Maybe he has come to realize it takes a wee bit more to kiss the Blarney Stone. If this guy actually becomes what many of us thought he could he could be as good or better than Raji. If so, this will be one of the better selections ever made by Texans. Shutting down the run would no longer be an issue.
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Old 08-20-2009   #18
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Like many college players going to NFL I think Frank figured he could just show up and place his large corpuscle in the main shipping lanes like a u-boat and be successful. Maybe he has come to realize it takes a wee bit more to kiss the Blarney Stone. If this guy actually becomes what many of us thought [b][/B]he could he could be as good or better than Raji. If so, this will be one of the better selections ever made by Texans. Shutting down the run would no longer be an issue.
I don't think I have ever seen "he could he could" in a sentence. I amaze me.
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Old 08-20-2009   #19
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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I figured he was going back to Okam's college days. He disappeared in his junior or senior year after looking dominant early iirc.
Frank went through a number of defensive coordinators at Texas. He was asked to perform different functions under each DC.

Frank's last year was under Duane Akina who failed as DC and was demoted back to secondary coach after that one year.

I think Big Frank will do great in Bush's scheme.
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Old 08-20-2009   #20
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Default Re: With okam less is more

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
I figured he was going back to Okam's college days. He disappeared in his junior or senior year after looking dominant early iirc.
Okam's stats by season:




He didn't really disappear. He just failed to live up to the lofty expectations of the average Longhorn fan. I went to UT. I root for the Horns in every game, in every sport. That being said, there might not be a fan base I loathe more than UT fans. They either love a guy, or hate him. They decide early. And nothing ever changes their mind.
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