OU media days notebook

Get the lowdown on everything that happened with OU at media days Tuesday in Dallas.

When it was revealed he was being brought to Big 12 media days, there was no doubt Oklahoma senior defensive back Julian Wilson was going to be bombarded about a potential position change.

OU coach Bob Stoops didn’t back down from it and Wilson was full of answers as it regards to where he might line up this fall.

Wilson has served in the nickelback role since Mike Stoops returned to OU as defensive coordinator. His position this year is completely undefined, and he’s OK with that.

“I feel comfortable playing wherever,” Wilson said. “Most people don’t know I took reps at all three positions last year in practice – cornerback, safety and nickelback.”

The prevailing thought was the opposite corner was a three-man battle between Stanvon Taylor, Dakota Austin and Cortez Johnson. But it’s clear now Wilson is in the hunt as well.

Following last season, Wilson contemplated entering the NFL Draft since he has graduated from OU. The gist of what he heard was NFL scouts wanted to see if he could play other positions. That led to a conversation between Wilson with the Stoops brothers, and here we are today.

“Everything is just like an experiment here, but I’m ready for whatever,” Wilson said. “I’m just happy my shoulder is 100 percent healed. I can’t wait to play with two shoulders again.”

Shannon situation still up in the air

OU coach Bob Stoops addressed a lot of personnel matters but one he couldn’t shed too much light on was what is happening with linebacker Frank Shannon.

Stoops was rather blunt about the topic, simply saying the situation is still unresolved, and he wouldn’t comment further.

Local authorities declined to prosecute the sexual assault case against Shannon, but the university is obligated by federal law to conduct its own investigation.

Shannon is included in the OU media guide that was provided this week.

Phillips, Evans ready to go

There is good news for the depth at both offensive and defensive lines as Stoops said defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and offensive guard Tyler Evans are both making great progress.

Phillips was a force for the Sooners at defensive tackle last season before back surgery derailed his season.

“He’s pain free,” Stoops said. “He has gotten himself back into football condition and football weight. He is putting himself into position to do something special this season.”

Evans has missed the last two seasons with ACL injuries, but Stoops said he has fought hard to come back and he is more determined than ever.

No news on alternate uniforms

One of the highlights of the summer was the release of OU’s alternate uniforms. But the question remained exactly when OU would unveil them.

That question wasn’t answered Tuesday.

“No, no and don’t know,” said Stoops when asked three separate questions about the uniforms. The questions dealt with when they would be worn this season, how often and the process by how they would be selected.

Stoops had no news on it, but the uniforms are still a major hit with all of the players. And a secret Julian Wilson no longer has to keep.

“I saw these like four months ago, but I wasn’t able to say anything,” Wilson said. “They’re definitely nice, like them a lot.

Bell set at tight end

The spring and summer months have done nothing to change the role of Blake Bell for this year’s OU squad. After moving from quarterback to tight end following the season, do not expect any sort of flip-flopping to occur.

“Not at all,” Stoops said. “That’s funny, it keeps coming up. Blake was recruited definitely at quarterback. But when you look at him now after three years, is the prototype at tight end. He’s got great hands, great size. He can run.”

Bell was doing well at his new position in the spring before suffering a knee injury. But that injury is a thing of the past as he is healthy and ready to roll for the season.

Bevy of young backs

There were plenty of veterans in the ball room in Dallas, but all of them were speaking volumes of two young running backs.

Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine are incoming freshmen running backs, but both have made a serious impact already on the team and look ready to start.

“Physically, they're equipped for it,” quarterback Trevor Knight said. “It's just learning the offense and mentally getting that confidence and getting some playing time and really just stepping into that role. Some guys are capable of coming in and playing right away and some guys aren't."

Perine and Mixon both weigh in at more than 220 pounds as of now and both are at least 6-foot tall. They are more in the mold of the current running backs than the ball carriers Oklahoma had last year.

“I like the way Joe Mixon looked, he’s a big dude,” senior corner back Julian Wilson said. “… I’m ready to see what he can in camp next week.”

Mixon, who scored 44 touchdowns in his final two years in high school, is a five-star recruit, and Perine was a three-star signee. All the players were amazed by Perine’s strength.

Knight said Perine benched 275 pounds 20 times.

“He’s just a man amongst boys in that regard,” he said.

Wide receiver options

Junior receiver Sterling Shepard is atop the receiving groups by a wide margin, but the battle behind him is as intense as ever.

Quarterback Trevor Knight said the unit is working out as a group four times a week, in completely voluntary fashion. He said that attendance has been almost perfect.

“They’ve all come in and decided that they have a chance to compete for a job, and they’re going to do it,” said Knight adding that he hasn’t gelled with any receiver more than others.

While he made a point of listing everyone, when asked about the options behind Shepard, Knight listed the receivers in this order: Durron Neal, K.J. Young, Grant Bothun, Mark Andrews, Michiah Quick, Jeff Mead, Dallis Todd.

Staff writer Justin Hite contributed to this report.

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