NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -Alonzo Dotson will have double duty the rest of this season for No. 3 Oklahoma.
Not only does he have a family tradition to uphold, he's also playing for an injured teammate.
The 6-foot-4 defensive end has the NFL in his blood. His uncle, Santana, won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1997 and his grandfather, Alphonse, played for John Madden's Oakland Raiders back in the 1970s. Now it's almost time for the next generation to carry on that NFL tradition.
``I don't want to be the one to break it,'' Dotson said. ``There's only two boys in my family, too.''
In his senior year with the Sooners (4-0), Dotson is several years closer to fulfilling that NFL dream than his younger cousin. He has two sacks among his nine tackles this season, and he'll be moving into the starting lineup this week against Colorado (2-2) - at the unfortunate expense of injured teammate John Williams.
Williams had season-ending surgery on his torn Achilles' tendon this week, leaving more playing time for Dotson to fill. The duo met during their high-school days in the Houston area and grew closer when both were sidelined during the 2005 season.
To see Williams get hurt again after a summer of focusing on getting healthy, Dotson said his ``heart just really sank.''
``It's just one of those things where I'm pushing through for him,'' Dotson said. ``I'll put him on my back and we'll ride out together.''
Dotson understands that injuries are an unfortunate, but major part of football. That's one of the lessons that his uncle has emphasized over the years while serving as a lifelong adviser for Dotson.
So if the 22-year-old sounds a bit like an assistant coach, perhaps it's because he's had a Super Bowl winner in his ear for so long - and maybe even trying to continue living his football dreams through his nephew.
``Sometimes you think that, but I think he wants me to do well,'' Dotson said. ``We've been together so long, since I was a baby. So he takes on that role of just being another coach and another person to help me out.''
Dotson said he has daily talks with his uncle, who also attends all of his games and some practices too.
``He comes up and came to two-a-days and watched us, and gives me pointers and we watch film together. I tell him the keys that we have for each week, and he processes them and then he calls me back and we go over tips,'' Dotson said. ``And then I call him before the game too.''
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said it's only natural that Dotson would be a ``football junkie,'' considering his background.
``He's a smart guy, been around a lot of football and the good part of all of it is he's coming in here as a mature guy that has taken it in and has learned from it,'' Venables said. ``He's utilized the opportunity. Sometimes they'll get to their fifth year and it's like, 'What happened here?' and now they're learning as a fifth-year senior.
``He's been somebody that's taken it from day one and transitioned well.''
Even before Dotson arrived in Norman, he'd been learning from the best. While attending training camps with his uncle, he got to know former Packers linemen including Reggie White, Vonnie Holliday and Gilbert Brown (``A lot of people think he's so huge, but he's really not. You put those tight clothes on, you'll look big,'' Dotson notes.)
``You don't really realize that you're fortunate to grow up around that type of environment until someone else tells you,'' Dotson said. ``You know, 'Golly, you were around all those guys all the time?'''
Some of their advice applies to an approach to the game - ``work harder than the next man, and put more into it because somebody out there is trying to beat you out'' - while other words of wisdom must be applied to ever-changing schemes.
``I have to tell them that teams don't just run the ball anymore,'' Dotson said. ``We've got these zone reads and a little bit of option and throwback passes and all kinds of crazy stuff, so relating that to them old guys kind of gets complicated.''
The benefits of Dotson's connections trickle down to his teammates, too. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Dotson ``plays like a leader'' through his go-getter style and his ability to read offenses and call out adjustments.
``Alonzo's definitely been a good teacher to me, as far as the mental aspect of the game,'' said Auston English, the Sooners' other starting defensive end. ``He's real smart, knows when things are coming at him, a real student of the game. Definitely just always aware of what's coming at him and what he's going to get.''
Dotson knows personal rewards await him if he's able to carry on his family tradition, but right now he's much more interested in playing for his teammates, his family and his injured friend.
``In the long run, it'll help me out, but I really in my heart I want to help this team out and go as far as we can,'' Dotson said. ``I just want to be so much a part of that that you guys don't really understand.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade
NFL WKEND SIDES &OV/UN 8-0 on Mon, Jan 2017 by armyranger
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

  • MINNEAPOLIS (AP) New Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has hired nine coaches for his staff, including offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
    The Golden Gophers a...
  • The University of Oregon has suspended football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde one month without pay after three players were hospitalized following a series of intense workouts las...
  • (STATS) - Furman will open the Clay Hendrix coaching era with a Sept. 2 trip to its oldest rival, Wofford.
    The opener is part of an 11-game schedule announced Tuesday.
    Furman and fellow S...
  • (STATS) - Southeastern Louisiana will seek to build on a successful season in its 11-game 2017 schedule that was announced Tuesday.
    The Lions, under coach Ron Roberts, reversed a 4-7 record in...
  • (STATS) - Wyoming secondary coach Curt Mallory is expected to be named Indiana State's new coach, according to reports.
    Mallory, 47, has never been a head coach. He is the son of former Indian...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2018 National Championship Odds Despite losing to Clemson on Monday night, Alabama has opened as the favorites to win the 2018 College Football National Championship.
Thumbnail Title Game Spread Holding Steady After some initial movement, tonight’s college football playoff national championship point spread is holding steady hours before kickoff.
Thumbnail Clemson vs. Alabama Prediction Will Alabama cover tonight against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship or will the Tigers pull off the upset?
Thumbnail Watson/Hurts Championship Props Which impact player will step up tonight in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game? Here’s some notable player prop odds for Clemson and...
Thumbnail CFB Championship Injury Report Will No. 1 Alabamaand No. 2 Clemsoncome into tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championshiphealthy? Here is the latest on the injury report.

NCAAF Team Pages