Tahlequah Daily Press

August 21, 2013

OU defenders could be suspended for season opener

OU football notebook


— Cornerback Cortez Johnson and defensive tackle Chuka Ndule both pled guilty to misdemeanor charges from offseason arrests. Johnson accepted a plea for misdemeanor marijuana possession, stemming from a December arrest in Norman. Ndulue accepted a differed sentence after being charged with a DUI in July.

Traditionally, players convicted of misdemeanors receive one-game suspensions.

Both are expected to be starters this season, but Stoops would neither confirm or deny their status for the Aug. 31 game against Louisiana-Monroe.

“We always have that in house. I don’t ever announce those things,” he said.

Stoops, however, said Johnson has been getting a starters reps in practice, while Ndulue has done the same at defensive tackle.

Just like old times

Senior running backs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay are battling for the starting job. Both grew up in Southern California and Williams said Tuesday that the pair have been competing against each other since they were kids.

“Pop Warner days. I used to play defense, and he used to play offense. So I got the chance to hit him a couple times. But now we’re on the same field, in the same backfield,” Williams said. “That’s what we do. We compete. We’re playing football, and we’ve been doing that since yay-high. I feel like me and him knowing each other and competing, I think that makes us better.”

Freshmen set to play

Stoops said running back Keith Ford, wide receivers Austin Bennett, Dannon Cavil, linebackers Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans, defensive backs L.J. Moore, Stanvon Taylor, Hatari Byrd and Ahmad Thomas are all set to play in some capacity this season. The only freshman OU’s waiting to make a decision on is defensive end D.J. Ward, who is still recovering from a splenectomy.