OU-Tulsa Locker Room Report

Bob Stoops, Chuck Long, Brent Venables, Rhett Bomar, Adrian Peterson, Davin Joseph, Travis Wilson and Dusty Dvoracek talk about OU's win over Tulsa. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

It is a win, but one of the more puzzling wins in the Bob Stoops era.

It is also win that doesn't really solve anything for Oklahoma, expcept put a 'W' in the win column. That in itself is important, and lets face it when you play the object of the game is to win, so getting that W is the most important thing concerning the game.

The object is to win and the Sooners did just that beating Tulsa 31-15, but it is not what would be classified as a good win.

"You can describe it in a lot of ways," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "I am always happy to win, but we have a lot we have to keep working on."

The fact it is a win is the most important way we should look at it, but that is not how OU always looks at it. At OU, wins have to lead to championships and this one didn't give any indications that OU was building towards championships.

If we were covering or following Missouri or Cincinnati, then this win would be exciting. I hate to dish on my friends at Missouri, but if you think OU has problems look at the Tigers. Missouri has a senior quarterback in Brad Smith, who is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and they can't beat New Mexico in Columbia — losing 45-35.

Tetting back to OU, the victory over Tulsa created just as many questions about the Sooners as the loss to TCU, but with one big difference — the win. While 80 percent of the Sooner nation was on the verge of committing suicide this week and while there are still major concerns, at least there is not a run at the med counter at your local pharmacy.

Now that I believe most of you are safe from personnel harm or hurting your neighbor, I think it is safe to tell you that OU is an average football team right now.

Now, I said it. Is everybody OK?

I am sure you are and, in fact, many of you think the same thing. Many of your totally agree. In fact, some of you will feel I am still way too optimistic about this team and you feel this team is going to fall flat on its face.

The bottom line is that at this time OU is still a work in progress, but they have a lot of work in front of them. At this point nobody, including the coaches, knows how good this team can be. And despite great expectations surrounding this team at the moment, the coaches have no clue what kind of team they really have.

Of course, when talking about Oklahoma being average, that is average for Oklahoma. All of you would agree that in Oklahoma an 8-3 record would be an average year, while at some programs fans would be dancing in the streets with that record.

Now I don't think this means that OU is ready to become an also ran of college football. In fact, I still believe that OU has outstanding talent. But unfortunately, OU has become a very young football team in a several different areas at the same time, especially at quarterback, which most of the time that is not a good formula for success.

At this point, it is safe to say that every game OU plays this year they will have a fight on their hands. This team will get better as the year goes along, but by the end of the year OU can be pretty good if they can keep key players healthy. However, to get to that point it is very apparent that this team is going through, and will continue to go through, some growing pains.

The Sooners were a 30-point favorite over Tulsa after the Golden Hurricane was blown out at home by Minnesota 41-10. Of course, the Sooners knew they weren't world beaters themselves after losing at home to TCU 17-10, an average TCU team at that. I mean, you did catch the fact that SMU beat TCU 21-10. That is SMUUUUUU beating TCU. Oh my.

Before you ask, yes, I think OU can beat SMU. The Sooners should have beaten TCU by 17. And if OU played TCU again the Sooners would beat the Horned Frogs. I mean, even TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson said that TCU could only beat OU one out of 10 times.

However, they didn't and they didn't blow Tulsa away either. So where did the Sooners improve?

"Well, we ran the ball better and did a good job in the kicking game," said Coach Stoops following the game. "Outside of that three was not a ton."

Ouch. When the head coach can't find many positive things to say after a win, that is not a good sign.

***

In two games we know this about OU.

• We know that OU is very inconsistent at quarterback and Chuck Long doesn't trust Rhett Bomar or Paul Thompson with anything but a basic gameplan.

• We know that Kevin Wilson is still searching for an offensive line that he can go with. He has already tried three different combinations.

• The OU wide receivers are getting younger by the minute. With senior Jejuan Rankins out with an ankle injury, OU wide receiver coach Darrell Wyatt had to play a combination of five true or redshirt freshman against Tulsa.

• We know that OU is great at running back and very solid at tight end.

• On defense OU is good, but not dominate. The Sooners only gave up 15 points against Tulsa, but they couldn't get the Golden Hurricane off the field. In the first half, Tulsa ran 37 plays to the Sooners' 30, but they had the ball for over seven and half more minutes than the Sooners.

In the final stats, Tulsa had the ball for 75 snaps to the Sooners' 58 and owned time of possession 34:41 to 25:19. OU Head Coach Bob Stoops has often said that time of possession doesn't matter, but he was making those statements when his offense was averaging 38 points per game.

OU made Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith look like former Tulsa great Jerry Rhome as Smith finished 24-of-36 with one interception. Sticking with their bend don't no break philosophy, the Sooners did not give up a touchdown pass. Smith's favorite target was tight end Garrett Mills, who tied a Sooner record for most receptions caught by an opponent with 13 catches for 152 yards.

The Sooners did come up with four sacks and did put pressure on Smith, but he played an amazing game and had a little luck, which is always necessary in football. He threw the ball into coverage several times, but Mills would bail him out or the Sooners would fail to come up with the interception.

The Sooner linebackers played pretty well, and the cornerbacks played very well. However, it is an entirely different story for the OU safeties, who showed all their inexperience in one game.

pb[Cody Freeby was Cody Freeby with one 23-yard punt, but a 60 and 70 yarder as well to finish with a 50 yard average. OU will take that and pray that his shanks don't come at a critical time. Garrett Hartley was solid in all areas.

The Sooners did improve in two important areas where the coaches stressed all week — they competed better and they were more physical.

"I felt like there was more of it," said Coach Stoops after the game. "We responded in the fourth quarter and some guys started to make some plays. We established a running game, as well as we were pretty strong against their running game. To me, that is where I know a lot of defense begins. With our offense the way our attack has gone is in the last several years, that is a big part of it. You have to be able to run it."

***

OU did establish a run game and it saved the day for the Sooners, because they simply couldn't complete a pass.

Oklahoma didn't even attempt a pass in the second half and only completed five passes in the game. In the second half, OU decided to ride the back of All-American running back Adrian Peterson, who carried 32 times for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

To say Peterson was amazing would be an understatement. His 41-yard run for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter fits the term amazing.

"We knew we had one yard to get and we ran base 28," said Peterson following the game. "Branndon Braxton just murdered his guy and I bounced outside. The guy that approached me, (TU cornerback Ray Roberts) I just ran him over. After that it was a race to the end zone, then a dude came up behind me (TU linebacker Alain Karatepeyan) and grabbed for the ball and kind of spun me around for a couple of yards. I smashed him back and just ran to the end zone. Nobody was going to stop me from getting to the end zone. I was going to get there no matter what."

The fact AD plays with so much heart and determination is not lost on his teammates.

"I have told you many times how amazed I am at some of the things AD can do," said Captain and senior fullback J.D. Runnels following the game. "I call him 'heart' because he plays with so much heart. AD is loved by all his teammates because he doesn't act like a superstar around us. He works harder, or as hard, as any player on our team. AD wants to win as much or more than anybody on our team, and he never gives less that 100 percent. It is a privilege to be on the same team with him."

The fact that AD's big run came on fourth-and-one at the Tulsa 41 made it even more special, especially when you consider if the Sooners don't make it Tulsa has a short field for a game winning field goal.

"Yeah, I knew that. But I just felt that fourth and one would probably finish the game," said Stoops following the game. "Well, maybe not, but it had a chance too. I just feel we have to be able to pick that up. We have a long year in front of us and we are out there in that situation. If we can't get that now we need to know. I felt that punting it away would give them an opportunity, but if we get one yard our opportunity to win increase big-time. Fortunately, AD broke it."

AD is not a guy that media should ask negative questions about his team or teammates. Those that do or don't do it in a respectful manner will get a smirk from the sophomore star. So, when asked if he could continue to carry the load without a passing attack to back him, AD gave an angry shrug and took up for his teammates.

"Without a passing game?" said AD with a hiss. "I don't know. We are going to have to establish some kind of passing game because we just can't hand the ball off all the time. We have a good passing game and I have confidence in it. It is just a matter of those guys getting it together. I even caught a couple of passes today."

Don't try to tell AD that the Sooners aren't going to win championships this year. In fact, he likes how the team is taking shape.

"It is too early. If you are thinking that, then you are wrong," said AD. "Every week we have improved and that is going to continue. We are going to practice harder this week and we are going to go out there and get it done. I am very confident in this team. I practice with the guys every day and I know what they are capable of doing. I feel like, when we get our passing game in there and make our offense balanced, we are going to be pretty good."

***

So how can the Sooners get that passing game going to where AD and the running attack can get some help? I never thought I would see the day when a Bob Stoops coached team would not attempt a pass in a half.

"I don't know if it was planned or just happened, but it is what we did," said Coach Stoops on the Sooner Radio Network following the game. "We felt good about the way we were running it and we didn't want to take any chances. We ran it well and did what we needed to do. It was good to win again, anyway you do it. We wanted to establish and run the football, and we did that.

"We need to develop a passing game that our players can execute. For whatever reason, the last two weeks what we have been doing hasn't been productive. That is being as kind as I can be. We are not going to continue to go through the year like this and not be able to throw the football some.

"We have to do a better job than what we are doing, the way we are structuring it, and in evaluating the players who are executing it. Hopefully, we can do that this week."

Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long said before the game that OU would be conservative in the game because of the first start for Bomar. Bomar was 5-for-13 with two interceptions in the first half with 42 yards, but is he totally to blame for what happened in the passing game?

"It is hard to put the blame on just any one group," said Coach Stoops Sunday from his office. "I think it is all of it together, whether it is receivers, quarterbacks and then protection at times. As you look back through two games, it could have been each of those at different times. We have to put it all together, and be consistent together."

The Sooners opened the second half trying to pass, but on their opening series Bomar was sacked twice for 25-yards in losses. A pass was called on two other occasions and Bomar decided to scramble instead picking up key yardage for the Sooners.

"We have a freshman quarterback and he is going to grow. It was a good start for him," Long said after the game. "However, I was really proud of how we ate up the clock in the second half and ran the football as well as we did. It was a start, but I know we are crawling right now, but it was a start. We can build on this as we showed a lot of resolve today."

Part of the reason for the Sooners' lack of production going in was the fact OU wanted to establish the running game, even if they had to go to the extreme of not throwing it in the second half.

"Our plan was to develop some physical toughness and have a physical presence today," said Long. "You look back at our three Big 12 Championship teams and each of those offenses had a physical presence about them. We needed to start that today.

"I thought Rhett made strides today. I am not big into stats, and this was one of those games that proved that. He had one errant throw on his second interception, but I thought that was the only errant throw on the day. I thought he managed the game well, and we have to keep working on the center exchange.

"I always tell quarterbacks if they make their reads and do their jobs you really only have to make one big play a game, and that one big play might come with your feet, which he did on that third-and-long and he got that first down with his feet. That was a big play for us."

"We were just better off running the ball in the second half," Long continued. "I just said we needed to run the ball. Period. We had a young freshman quarterback in there and he will grow. He will grow from this. We need to get a win and that was the big thing. Just win the football game by running the ball. Adrian could feel it on the sideline as his guys were saying they could run the football, and they did a nice job."

***

With that being said, where does that leave the passing game? Even AD is counting on the passing game getting into shape so that his running lanes open up a little bit wider.

"I am an old quarterback myself. I like throwing the ball," said Long on Sunday from his office. "We like throwing the ball and we have done a great job throwing the ball. We have had a high percentage and high efficiency in the past, but at the same time we went into this game wanting to create some attitude and physical presence with our offense.

"We bit the bullet a little bit. Yeah, we should have thrown it more looking back on it, but coming out of the game we grew and took a step forward. We wanted our guys leaving the field with confidence with some physical play."

"If you look at our tape we had some guys playing hard and getting after some guys, even down field blocks were very good," Long continued. "That part of our game will come around. We know how to throw it, we have done it in the past, and we will get to that point again. It was a goal as an offense to come out of that game with some physical play, get after guys and challenge our guys to do better. We need to do that this time year."

Despite only gaining 269 yards in total offense and just 42 yards in the air, did the Sooners actually come away with a good feeling about their offensive performance?

"Yes, we did. We took a step forward as an offense yesterday," said Long. "Based on the week before, that is what we wanted to do. We had a hard week of practice, and to the players credit they got after it Saturday. Now we want to score more points and we have been use to explosions in the past, by not only just working it down the field, we have also been explosive. This team is different, but we will get to that point. But again, I thought we grew quite a bit yesterday."

***

As far as Rhett Bomar goes, he posted those kinds of numbers in one play at Grand Prairie High School. On his two interceptions, Bomar was hit on one and a receiver fell down on other. However, Bomar was never able to get the passing game going.

Bomar admitted after the game that he had never played in a game where he didn't throw a pass in a half, but as long as his team won he could care less about how many times he throws the ball.

"The run was just working better for us today, so we went with it," said Bomar after the game. "Who knows — next game we may throw the ball more. I mean, we are capable of doing that. For my first ever start, it was exciting to get the win. That is a whole lot better than last week when we lost. Nobody should care about what happens in a game or how many passes we threw. We won and for me it was my first win as a starter."

Can a game where your quarterback only completes 5-of-13 passes really equate to progress for Bomar?

"It was his first start and Rhett was very interested in winning the football game," said Long. "That was our goal — to win that game, and we did what we wanted to do in the second half. Rhett's time will come and it will come in a big way, but he was just excited to get his first victory of his young career.

"Rhett made two big plays with his feet. I always tell quarterbacks that there is going to come a point and time during the course of the game or season where you are going to have to make plays, and he made two big runs in the game. On a third-and-five he scrambled and reached the ball up on the sideline. And then that big one on third-and-long late in the game to keep the drive alive. Those were huge plays. Everybody wants the passing stats, but those are two big plays in the game that we needed."

"We don't plan to try to pull that off (just running the football) all the time," Long continued. "We wanted to do it yesterday because we had a certain goal for our offense, and that goal was to establish a physical presence to carry us throughout the year. It started yesterday and we need to go with that every game. They now realize the way we practiced last week, and the way we played in the game is what we need to come with every game. That is going to help them.

"Do we want to run the ball that many times and not throw it? No. We know in the future we have to strive for better balance. I am a big balance person and I feel balance is ultimately what wins championships for you. We will strive to get better balance."

Coach Stoops has now said is several times since the game that the coaching staff needs to re-evaluate what they are doing in the passing game. So, do the Sooners need to change the passing game or do something different?

"I guess, but we have it there where we can be successful in the passing game," said Bomar. "We didn't try it as much today, because situations didn't dictate that. But of course, we all want to throw the ball and help out our running game. I am sure as weeks go by that you will see that we make adjustments and throw the ball more."

"We are always considering other things in our passing game," said Long. "We have an excellent attack in the shot-gun. When we get underneath (center) we like to work a little bit more underneath in our passing game. We had some passes dialed into the gameplan yesterday, but it was just how the game was going.

"The feedback on the sideline was great because the offensive line was saying that we could run the ball on these guys and they wanted to get after them. We have some adjustments to make. We have a good passing game and we practice it."

"We will look at add more of an underneath type passing game," Long continued. "That is probably what Bob is talking about. We need to carry over some of our shot-gun passes to the underneath pass game. We worked on this in camp and we will continue to work on it with Rhett. We will just see what Rhett is real comfortable with. I have a good idea what he is comfortable with and we have to keep working those schemes."

***

Bomar didn't post any numbers in the passing game, but he was happy with what he was able to accomplish.

"You have to forget the play that happens, especially when it is a bad play. You have to just forget it and move on," said Bomar. "I think I did a good job of that today. On that 92-yard drive we felt it in the huddle that we were going to have success. We had confidence that the offensive line was going to dominate and that AD was going to run the ball. Once we started moving the ball, I had confidence that we were going to score."

Part of the problem in the passing game, as I pointed out earlier, is that there is now so much youth on the field on offense. However, Coach Stoops stuck to his no excuses policy and said his team doesn't have any time to be young and inexperienced on offense.

***

Davin Joseph is the unquestioned leader of the Sooners' offensive line, especially now that at times he lines up with freshmen Duke Robinson and Branndon Braxton at offensive tackle and a redshirt freshman J.D. Quinn at offensive guard.

You can bet that he enjoyed the call when the offensive coaches told him that OU was going to run the ball and keep running the ball until they reach the end zone.

"That was a lot of fun today," said Joseph after the game. "Any time an offensive lineman can just pin his ears back and run the ball, he is having a good time. We played with a better attitude today, which led to better execution. We were more focused on offense this week, especially in the second half. We just came off the ball and maintained a tough attitude. When guys are that focused and into the game like we were you get results like that.

"AD was running hard and J.D. was blowing people up. Then Rhett showed me a lot because things weren't going well in the passing game for him, so when everybody was covered he took off and picked up a big first down for us. That showed some guts and smarts. He was poised in the huddle the whole game."

***

The most frustrated guy on the team just might be senior wide receiver Travis Wilson.

Thus far in two games, Wilson has five catches for 62 yards, but for the most part he has been overthrown when he has been wide open on deep balls and overthrown on short routes. On top of those problems, throw in a dropped ball or two and Wilson is ready to pull his hair out wondering what has happened to the Sooner passing game.

"I would definitely like to know," said a frustrated Wilson following the game. "It is just frustrating to be a receiver and not see things be successful. The bottom line is that we have to win, and that is what is important."

Wilson has always been a great blocker down field, but in this game he had no choice because blocking become his full-time job.

"That is just part of what we do here at Oklahoma," said Wilson. "When our number is not called as a receiver we have to do whatever we have to do to help the team. Today, it turned out to be a day when they needed us to block so we become the best downfield blockers we could be."

We can't talk about blocking without getting the opinion of Mr. Runnels, who according to the Sooner coaches had a fantastic game. Early in the game, my nephew Steve Hale, left a message on my cell phone telling me that Runnels had just thrown the best block he has ever seen on one of AD's runs, and this is coming from a guy who played some pretty tough and rugged football for the Duncan Demons several years back. So, coaches and fans alike love watching Runnels lead the way for AD and company.

"It all starts up front with Davin and those guys. They start everything," said Runnels. "They set the tone for this game and they dominated, which enabled us to run the ball. Fundamentally, that is what we always want to do — set up our run first and then set up our passes off of that.

"If a team can't stop us and we are clicking in the run game, then that is what we are going to do. We started clicking and that is what we did. Fundamentally, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on a pass play. I think our coaches decided today our best course of action was to run the ball, and that is what we did."

***

The Sooners tried a number of different offensive line combinations in the game. And as you first learned on OUInsider.com, the Sooners started Chris Messner at left tackle and Branndon Braxton at right tackle, Davin Joseph at left guard and Chris Bush at right and Chris Chester moved to center.

For significant portion of the game the Sooners played with true freshman offensive tackles, as Duke Robinson played a great deal at left tackle and Braxton at right. Redshirt freshman J.D. Quinn also saw considerable action at right guard.

At least three different combination of offensive linemen were used, and for offensive line coach Kevin Wilson that pattern may continue.

"At the end it wasn't just the combination, but the way we did things that led to our success," said Wilson from his office on Sunday. "For the bulk of the second half, we had those two freshman tackles and Quinn at guard. Then we had Joseph at left guard and Chester at center. Chester played center the whole day. We will still play Messner at both tackles, and if we need Davin outside on certain situation I will hot hesitate to do that.

"I would expect Bush and Kelvin Chaisson to compete at the one guard spot along with Quinn. I think Chester is going to be the center and Davin is going to play as much as he can inside. Then we will continue to bring those young kids along at tackle as quick as we can."

"Chester had a very good game at center," Wilson continued. "He has very good feet, good strength and his quickness really helps him out in there. He had a couple of bad snaps today and we need to continue to work on that."

***

On defense, it was one of those days where the Sooners went home with mixed emotions. Tulsa only scored 15 points, but OU gave up 344 yards of total offense, while holding Tulsa to just 98 yards rushing. Smith and Mills killed the Sooners, but OU managed to hold everybody else in check.

"We got a lot of pressure on Tulsa," said Stoops. "I lost track how many times we hit the quarterback, and yet he (Smith) made some excellent plays. Give him credit because we were all over him and he was making throws when we had him in our grasp.

"I don't think we are far off. We needed to be a little sharper in some third down plays. We think we can execute them a little bit better, but the pressure was there. We need to be a little tighter in some coverage, but sometimes we were right on him and he (Smith) still managed to make a play."

One thing that the Sooners didn't like was the fact that Tulsa was able to maintain possession of the football running 17 more plays than the Sooners.

"That was our fault, especially on that 17-play drive in the second half," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "We were making some silly mistakes and they were doing a good job of executing, but we just have to find a way shut them down. On third and short, we hit the quarterback late and then on second and long we hit the quarterback late, and instead of third and long it is a first down.

"We jump offsides on another play that we are going to sack them on third and three to get off the field. You can list a number of things where we weren't as sharp as we should have been, but what you appreciated about them is that they played really hard and made enough plays to win the game."

However, when the day was done the defense had played winning football.

"We played fairly good. We were real close to playing really, really well," said Venables. "There were a number of things that were very encouraging, and then there were a number of times we didn't play very smart. We have to play smarter, but we played hard and our effort was good. Guys were flying around and at times.

"Our coverage was good and the quarterback was able to pull it down and buy some yards with his feet. We didn't play smart at times and Tulsa played well. Their tight end (Mills) was a good player. We need to get better at defending the tight end. We put just about everybody on our defense on him except for our D-linemen."

In the first two games, the OU offense has struggled forcing the Sooner defense to pick up the slack. So after two games, just how good can the defense be.

"I think we can be solid," said Venables. "I think we can be better than where we are at right now by a long ways, and we need to be. Some of the mistakes that we make are because this guy is green. He will get better as he just needs to see it more. We are not real deep up front and we have to be creative in finding ways to help them. The things that we can control — we have to be sound in coverage and we can't miss assignments. Our positioning has to be good so that we can be a good tackling team.

"First and foremost. we must be able to stop the run. We have been fairly good at that, but we haven't been really challenged either in that regard. We feel good that we have a strong nucleus of guys to be able to have a solid defense, but we haven't played a complete game by any stretch."

Coach Stoops on the play of the Sooners defense against Tulsa.

"Defensively it was kind of frustrating," said Stoops. "I compliment their quarterback, Smith, who is such a great competitor. So many times we were just hitting him and he would find a way to just get the ball off and make a play. We were so close so many times at making some plays and then they would make plays on third down.

"It was frustrating on the drive in the second half, because we get a personal foul on the quarterback, we jump offsides when we are sacking them on a third and long play, then we almost intercept the ball and Mills, their excellent tight end, ends up catching it. We have to make plays when we are in position, but they made some to keep their drives going. We held some other times in key opportunities, which was good."

***

One position that has faired well in the first two games is linebacker — where Rufus Alexander, Clint Ingram and Zach Latimer have played well.

"They have played good, but not great. It is just a bunch of little things where we can be better at," said Venables, who also doubles as the linebacker coach for the Sooners. "As a unit, we haven't played as well as we are capable yet. Again, my expectations are high for them and they know that.

"They have done some things that are awfully good, and then some things in technique that aren't real good. Rufus made a lot of big plays yesterday and played well. Clint did the same thing and Zach was solid in the middle."

Alexander is the latest in a long line of great WILL linebacker for the Sooners. Rocky Calmus and Teddy Lehman both won Butkus awards from that spot, and Alexander is showing that same kind of ability. However, he plays a different style than Calmus or Lehman, yet manages to get the job done.

"It is hard to explain how he does so well because he does it differently for that position," said Venables. "He has an uncanny way about him and he closes awfully well in the field. He is far from a 4.4 guy, but he plays awfully fast when he knows what he is doing. He can close that five- to eight-yard range, and then he can really uncoil and explode into a ball carrier.

The play of Alexander and his fellow linebackers is not lost on other Sooner defenders.

"I think those guys are great. They are playing at a very high level right now," said Captain and senior defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek on the linebackers. "They cover a lot of ground and clean up what we can't finish up front. We attack up front and we create some pretty good havoc, but sometimes we just start the process for the tackle and those guys come in and make the tackle. It seems like Rufus is flying in from everywhere, and Clint makes plays all over the field. I think Zach is doing a great job in the middle. All three of those guys can really run.

***

In the secondary, the general assessment is that corners Chijioke Onyenegecha and D.J. Wolfe played very well, but the Sooner safeties did not live up to their side of the bargain.

Starters Darien Williams and Lewis Baker were both pulled in the game and played for only a half. Replacements Reggie Smith and Jason Carter replaced them and b all accounts played better.

Smith will earn a start at strong safety on Saturday when the Sooners travel to UCLA, while Carter, Nic Harris and Brian Jackson will battle this week for the right to start at free safety. Jackson was told after the game by secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright that he would was moving from corner to free safety, and that he would be given a shot to win the job.

***

There were no major injuries suffered in the Tulsa game. The only player that is questionable for the UCLA game is senior wide receiver Jejuan Rankins, who is battling a sprained ankle.


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