P.J. Mbanasor determined to bounce back

It was a rough day for P.J. Mbanasor two weeks ago, but he'd love another shot.

As a true freshman, Oklahoma cornerback P.J. Mbanasor fared well in his first start. But most knew the truth that Akron didn’t pose the passing threat needed to test the Sooners.

Tulsa, on the other hand, absolutely did. The Golden Hurricane, running an offense eerily similar to Baylor in every way, was going to let people know how far the Sooners secondary had come under first-year coach Kerry Cooks.

But the thought was it would do so against cornerback Jordan Thomas. A day before the game, the sophomore was suspended by head coach Bob Stoops. And despite the fact he had limited reps in practice, Mbanasor was the guy.

It was a rough afternoon for Mbanasor, no denying that. Picked on, flagged as experienced receivers did what they’re supposed to do against freshmen.

Now it’s up to the freshman to bounce back.

“My message to P.J. was it was an unfortunate situation that happened,” said Cooks about Thomas’ suspension. “It’s a next man in mentality. Knew he would be tested the first time, told him to just keep fighting.

“Since that game, he was in all day Sunday (last week), which told me he was disappointed in his play. He came back and was working on things we’ve been teaching since Day 1.”

Cooks said Mbanasor wanted to get right back on the field the next day, but Cooks told him to rest up. There will be another opportunity.

The biggest thing Cooks said is Mbanasor is just making that leap going from high school to college. Even a team like Tulsa is no slouch and those guys are there for a reason.

“He’s a young man and still developing his techniques and fundamentals, some of his fundamentals broke down,” Cooks said.

Mbanasor was the highest rated signee for the Sooners in the secondary that could prove to be the best in Stoops’ tenure. One thing Mbanasor never lacked during the recruiting process was confidence. Hit in the mouth for the first time, it’s crucial for Mbanasor to not dwell on the past.

We won’t know if he has been fully able to do that until he gets back out there.

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