Coach: Spring helped TE Taylor McNamara

NORMAN, Okla. -- The decision to enroll early should pay off for Oklahoma freshman tight end Taylor McNamara. While his 2012 classmates were enjoying their final semester of high school, McNamara was battling David King and R.J. Washington in practice every day.

“It certainly seasoned him,” tackles/tight ends coach Bruce Kittle said. “It was like throwing chicken in the Crock-Pot and letting it brew a little bit. He's battled with homesickness and he would have graduated in May and he’s competing with David King and those guys. The speed of the game at times felt really overwhelming for him.”

McNamara battled homesickness early in his first semester but finished spring football strong and was one of the standouts of the spring game with three receptions for 23 yards.

“He’s grown into it by fire and really matured,” Kittle said. “He’s a completely different player coming into camp. He had a great summer and has really matured. I look for great things from him; he’s everything we thought he would be. That spring certainly helped him. He’s in a great place to step right in and contribute.”

McNamara could be the best pass catching tight end on the roster.

“He’s always been a natural pass catcher, great route-runner,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “He’s grown up being comfortable in space. He wants to be a great run-blocker and he’s continuing to get better every day. If he does that, he is going to help us as an overall player.”

If McNamara can become an adequate blocker, he could provide a quality pass catching threat for Landry Jones while allowing the Sooners to use him as a multiple-down tight end instead of slotting him into a passing situation option at tight end.