On Monday, Texas Co-defensive Coordinator Duane Akina said "we're encouraged" about the status of defensive end Brian Orakpo and listed him as the starter at Quick DE, although the junior had not been officially cleared to play. But on Tuesday, team doctors gave Orakpo the go ahead and he was back on the practice field, running through full drills.
"Today was my first full, whole-nine-yards, full practice and it felt great," said Orakpo. "Getting off balls, tackle drills, the whole nine yards. Everything felt good for me."
Orakpo was the victim of a chop-block in the second quarter of the Longhorns' season-opener against Arkansas State. He left the game and returned later on crutches. Orakpo has been out ever since with the knee injury, but said that his fitness level is top-notch and doesn't expect to be slowed when he takes the field.
"Ever since I went down against Arkansas State, I've been conditioning since Day 1," said Orakpo. "I feel like I never got hurt. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to get after it."
Although Orakpo is listed as a starter on the depth chart, coaches have not given him any indication of whether or not he'll trot out with the first team D against the Sooners.
"I'm not sure. I'm just working my way back in," said Orakpo. "If I play one play to 60 plays, it doesn't matter. As long as I can contribute to this victory and contribute to this team."
Outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, who injured his knee against Rice during his first game back from a suspension to start the season, is also listed on the Oklahoma game depth chart, but has yet to receive the green light. His status will be made public on Thursday, but coaches, especially Akina, are hoping he'll be available to play as well.
"Those (Kindle and Orakpo) are two major players when it comes to bringing people off the edge. Those are two weapons," said Akina. "Let's hope that we have 'em, but our philosophy has always been 'Who's next?' We'll line up with what we've got."
Texas takes on OU in the 102nd edition of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Cotton Bowl.
Orakpo Cleared to Play Against OU
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