Tahlequah Daily Press

November 27, 2013

Sooners resting up for Bedlam

By JOHN SHINN
CNHI

— NORMAN — There is still more than a week left for Oklahoma to prepare for Bedlam. The game against Oklahoma State will be enormous, but the Sooners will not use all the upcoming days to grind away in preparation.

OU coach Bob Stoops said his team will practice Monday-Wednesday before taking four days off for Thanksgiving, and more importantly, four days to rest some very weary bodies.

“We need one about as much as anybody,” Stoops said. “Hopefully we can rest some guys up this week and get them back the following week. I don’t know the status of really anyone today just yet. So we’ll see as we go through the week.”

The Sooners returned home from Kansas State Saturday with a 41-31 victory. They had seven starters who either didn’t play or left the game due to injuries. That goes along with players like freshmen running back Keith Ford and linebacker Jordan Evans who haven’t played since the Baylor game.

The elements associated with the Kansas State game wasn’t good for the body. The temperature never got above freezing and the 20-mile-per-hour North wind dropped the wind chill into the low teens.

“The weather was a factor,” said cornerback Aaron Colvin, who came out of the game late after aggravating a lingering shoulder injury. “Everyone was aching, but there was nothing you could do about it, but you felt it the next day.”

Hit particularly hard was the offensive line. Guard Adam Shead did not make the trip due to a back injury. Left tackle Tyrus Thompson had to be helped off the field in the second half with an ankle injury.

But after 11 games, there’s a common thread that runs through every locker room in college football: if you’re playing, you’re aching.

“Everybody is tired, banged up, yeah,” offensive tackle Daryl Williams said. “It’s really good to have a week off.”

The Sooners haven’t had a bye week this late in the season in years. The Bedlam game was moved to final week of the regular season in 2005. Both teams have played the week before every year since then.

“Yeah, it’s especially important for those guys that are out. We need to get them back and healthy and on their feet because we’re going to need everybody in a couple of weeks,” cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “And then it’s also preparation.”

The preparation time helps. But nothing helps a healthy mind like a healthy body. The Sooners will try to heal theirs this week while starting to install the game plan for the Bedlam game.

Stoops looked at the bright side Monday. He recalled the situation five years ago in 2009. The Sooners lost starters all season due to injuries but seemed to be at their lowest point when All-American tackle Trent Williams suffered a concussion a few days before the game and then tight end Chris Messner was forced to play tackle for the first time in his career and only had two days to practice. The Sooners won that game 27-0.

Stoops believes his current group has the same moxie.

“We’re excited about it and are gonna do all we can to finish strong and be ready to play,” Stoops said. “That win last week only helped that. It showed we can overcome this and we’re excited.”

OU football notebook

No starter named:
OU coach Bob Stoops deflected questions on whether Knight would start the Bedlam game. Blake Bell did not play against Kansas State due to a concussion he suffered the previous week.

Stoops said he wanted to wait until Bell was cleared to return to practice next week before announcing his decision.

Why the ruse?: Bell was fully dressed and even threw some passes while OU warmed against Kansas State. Clearly, it was a ploy to convince the Wildcats he was going to play.

Stoops said that was OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel’s decision.

“I told him not to, but I guess Coach Heupel wanted him to,” Stoops said about the ruse. “I said we got to Saturday, just get warm. Then I looked and he was going out for warmups. It was no big deal.”

Evans gets another year: Offensive lineman Tyler Evans hasn’t played since the 2011 season due to knee injuries, but the fifth-year senior did not go through senior day festivities Nov. 16. Stoops said that is because Evans has been granted a sixth-year of eligibility and will play next season.

Linebacker Corey Nelson has applied for a fifth season after the senior suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in early October. Nelson said Saturday the Big 12 Conference has rejected his request, but the decision has been appealed to the NCAA.

Stoops said OU should know if Nelson will be granted another in late December.

OU picks up third 2015 commitment: OU added its third commitment for its 2015 recruiting class Monday, when Houston defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin announced on Twitter he is committed to the Sooners..

Lampkin, Cypress High School in Houston, didn’t have any other offers, but was receiving serious interest from Texas A&M, Baylor and Notre Dame, among others.

Lampkin (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) joins offensive linemen Josh Wariboko (Casady) and Bobby Evans (Allen, Texas) as the Sooners’ current 2015 commitments.