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October 26, 2011
Notebook: Injuries, tight ends and Landry troubles
Oklahoma heads into their showdown with undefeated Kansas State on Saturday still wondering how things will play out in their defensive secondary.
Jamell Fleming had arthroscopic surgery a week ago today to repair what is believed to be a meniscus injury and Stoops remains positive he could return this weekend.
But should he miss Kansas State, expect Oklahoma to stick with Aaron Colvin at cornerback. Colvin replaced an ineffective Gabe Lynn against Texas Tech and Stoops hinted he is leaning in that direction once again on Saturday if Fleming can't go.
"We'll mix it up with Aaron playing some at corner and Sam (Proctor) at safety and some with Gabe at corner and Aaron at safety," said Stoops. "We'll know more toward the end of the week if Jamell can be back. He's looked good, so we'll see. It's obviously a big plus if he can get back."
Casey Walker also stands as a questionable return this weekend after sitting out the Texas Tech game due to a thumb injury.
"We're hoping he'll be able to come back and play, maybe this week but they're worried about it rotating in there," said Stoops on Saturday night.
Walker's injury doesn't require surgery, but any further damage to the ligaments in his thumb and he could need surgery, which would put him out for an even longer period of time.
Do expect the full return of Dominique Whaley and Tom Wort this week against the Wilcats.
Ben Habern will not return to this week.
TIGHT END TROUBLES
Austin Haywood was one of the top youngsters in the Oklahoma offensive system but he has decided to transfer from Oklahoma.
"Austin Haywood has decided he's going to quit and transfer at mid-year," announced Stoops on Monday. "So we're all good with that and wish him the best."
Stoops using the "Q" word doesn't happen very often. And it appears Stoops did his best to convince Haywood to remain with the program.
Sources told SoonerScoop.com that Haywood was having academic difficulties at OU and he was frustrated with trying to juggle school and football in Norman.
His departure leaves Oklahoma with only one scholarship tight end following the season in freshmen Max Stevenson.
What Jay Norvell and the OU offense is focusing on right now, is getting senior tight end James Hanna more involved in the passing game.
Hanna made two big catches to draw the Sooners within three points against Tech on Saturday night. He's made a lot of big plays for the Sooners since breaking out against Oklahoma State last season in Stillwater.
So far this season Hanna has 13 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. But his reliability and a penchant for big plays, proves he is as solid a third receiving option as anyone else on the OU roster.
"He's a guy that we probably need to do a better job of involving in what we do," said Norvell. "We've got to get him involved in the passing game a little bit more. He's certainly capable. At the end of the game he made a huge play and he's a guy that we think is a really talented guy that's capable of making a lot of plays. We've got to get him involved more."
Landry Jones put up very good numbers against Texas Tech, but it was clear Jones was struggling with accuracy against the Red Raiders.
Jones was too high, too low, too behind, too ahead of receivers too many times. But Jones said a wet football was not the cause of his problems.
"Actually, it was pretty dry out there. Our field drains pretty good," explained Jones. "It wasn't too bad. I thought it was going to be a little worse than it was."
What Jones can't really explain is why his accuracy has been failing him.
"I just needed to be more accurate, whatever it was," he said. "Sit in the pocket and trust the pro (protection) and step up and make some throws.
"I was either high or low. It happens, but I've just got to fight through it and get myself in a rhythm and get myself in a position to win."