Q&A: Former OU linebacker Teddy Lehman

Teddy Lehman and Dusty Dvoracek once pounded opposing running backs as star defenders for the Oklahoma Sooners. Today, the two are pounding the airwaves. After stints in pro football, Lehman and Dvoracek have returned to Norman as co-hosts of “The Rush” on SportsTalk 1400am.

Lehman, who won the Butkus Award with the Sooners in 2003, spoke with SoonerNation about his new gig, life without Brent Venables and the return of Mike Stoops.

Jake Trotter: How did you get into having your own radio show?

Teddy Lehman: It kinda started when I was in the USFL (in Las Vegas). Me and a friend there started doing a show on ESPN radio Las Vegas. I liked it a little bit, and wanted to do more. Dusty, who was with an Omaha team, had interest in doing something similar. My wife happened to work out with (SportsTalk 1400 owner Randy Laffoon) every morning at 5:30 a.m. I told her to tell him, me and Dusty are interested in doing a show, and if we could at least meet with him and pick his brain to see if he wanted to pursue that. They had a full lineup, and I got a call from Randy saying he was not looking to hire anyone, but they had some guys taking time off around the holiday season and asked if would we be interested in filling in for some shows in November and December. I guess he liked us, and booked a couple times. Soon, we negotiated a deal to be full-time.

JT: How has the transition been into broadcasting?

TL: It’s going really good. It started off pretty rough, coming in with little to no experience on the radio. But the more interviews we’ve done, the more comfortable we’ve gotten. It’s been an experience.

JT: Have you had to walk a fine line between being a former player and now being in the media?

TL: It is. We’re finding that out as we go along. It’s one thing to be a former player, one thing to work out (in the Switzer Center), and have those luxuries there. And it’s another thing to be on the radio and have that access other people don’t have. It’s hard, it’s a tough line to walk, because we still want to want to go to the university to work out. But we can’t just go out there and use it and throw (information we hear there) around, because that’s really not fair to other people. I don’t know if the coaches would like that. It’s a fine line between going up there and seeing people and being part of that family and knowing what your job is.

JT: What did you think of Venables leaving?

TL: I didn’t like it. I spent so much time with him the four years I was here. I spent time with him every day. I was a huge fan of us. A great linebacker coach, not just a great defensive coordinator, but a great position coach. It’s going to hurt, not there’s not other capable coaches out there. But he’s been a big influence on how Oklahoma football has done. He’s been a big influence on everyone. He’ll be missed. Clemson got a really good coach.

JT: What do you think about Mike Stoops coming back?

TL: I think it’s great. I’m really excited. I was hoping it would be Coach V and Mike together again. I thought that would have been the greatest thing ever. But losing V, it’s good to have Mike back. There’s not going to be any fall-off at defensive coordinator. Losing V as a linebackers coach is huge. But Mike runs a really good defense, an aggressive defense that gets after the quarterback. He’ll do things a little more simple in the secondary to get those guys playing faster.

JT: What did you think about last season?

TL: I thought it was a good season. I know there was a lot of criticism on coaches and players for being 10-3. But I thought it was a successful season considering they lost (Dominique) Whaley and (Ryan) Broyles, who’s not only biggest weapon on team, but one of best receivers in the history of college football. Not to mention they lost their leader on defense (Austin Box) -- lose him before the season tragically. That weighs on everyone before the season even starts. There was so much stacked against them, and yet they still made a bowl game, so there were a lot of positives. To still pull out 10-win season is big.

JT: What do you think of this team next season?

TL: I’m excited. We’ve got some junior-college guys that can come in and play right away. I’m anxious to see Kenny Stills step up with Ryan Broyles gone. Landry Jones is back again, with another year under his belt, with a chance to become the first OU quarterback to win four bowl games. There’s a lot of good stuff for this season.