OU football notebook: Next in line
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Friday, November 25, 2011
11/25/11 at 4:16 AM
Junior David King will replace Ronnell Lewis at defensive end against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. King has plenty of experience, having played in 27 games with six starts in his career. But with backups Chuka Ndulue and Geneo Grissom light on experience, Saturday figures to be the most King has ever played.
"They just have to be sound," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "No one has to be Superman, ever, if guys just stay within the system and execute. I say all the time, but it's so simple. Guys can go out and play so well and so clean, and no one does anything superhuman."
King David: One of the biggest plays of the Baylor game for an otherwise beleaguered OU defense was when King slid over and slammed Robert Griffin for a loss of 1 on a fourth-and-1 keeper near midfield. But King said his part was easy.
"They brought in their heavy package, so we brought in our heavy package," King said. "I don't know if y'all saw it, but (defensive tackle) Stacy McGee did a really good job of just causing penetration into the backfield, and he forced Robert Griffin to bounce right outside where I was waiting for him. So Stacy really caused the play; I just made the tackle."
Kicking it: Jimmy Stevens' injury - what Bob Stoops called a pulled leg muscle - has healed, but "I guess they just don't want me kicking," Stevens said.
Stevens is tied for ninth in school history with 306 career points, sixth with 42 field goals and second with 180 PATs. In 33 career games, he's made 42-of-52 field goals, and his percentage of .807 ranks just behind Garrett Hartley's school record of .810.
But the senior appears finished as Michael Hunnicutt has taken placekicks ever since Stevens went 3-for-3 at Florida State.
"We're very happy with what Michael has been doing," Stoops said. "In practice he's been really consistent. He's just getting stronger and stronger as he gets older and the more confidence he gets. He's doing well."
Hunnicutt has made 15-of-18 this season, and his 1.67 field goals per game ranks seventh in the nation.
Yet Hunnicutt missed two short field goals (39 and 28 yards) in a three-point loss to Texas Tech - kicks that used to belong to Stevens, who excelled at short-range kicks.
Did the pressure of the situation against Tech simply get to the freshman Hunnicutt?
"It's hard to say," Stoops said. "... A great golfer, the same reason he sprays one off the tee every now and then. He just didn't quite hit it correctly."
Haywood returning: Sophomore tight end Austin Haywood, who quit the team at midseason, has been given a chance to get back into the program, though he's not working out or practicing with the team.
"Austin is trying to work his way back onto the team. We'll see if he's gonna be successful or not. He's got a ways to go," Stoops said. "Not his case specifically, but (working one's way back on to the team consists of) doing what you're supposed to do off the field, tutoring, attending weight workouts on time... showing up at practice and having a good attitude. Not that hard. Just doing what you're supposed to do - fulfilling your obligations."
Haywood's absence next season would have left the Sooners with a redshirt freshman and an incoming freshman.
Also, Stoops said offensive lineman Nila Kasitati, who played tight end in high school, will seek a medical hardship for this season. Kasitati played in the Sooners' fourth game against Ball State but hasn't played since because of an undisclosed injury.