OU football notebook: Florida A&M suspends four players
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
9/05/12 at 4:15 AM
Related Story: OU players lament absence of Florida A&M's famed marching band
Florida A&M won't have a full roster when the Rattlers face Oklahoma on Saturday night.
FAMU coach Joe Taylor announced the suspensions of four players on Tuesday. Included is the team's top defensive back and receiver in 2011.
Cornerback Devontae Johnson, who had a team-high five interceptions last year, and wide receiver Lenworth Lennon (team-best 45 catches last fall) won't be available after being suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Wide receiver Dewayne Harvey and backup offensive lineman Daniel Lennon also will miss the game, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Florida A&M lost its season opener 17-14 at Tennessee State last weekend.
Don't blame players: Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops didn't want blame to be placed entirely on the players for UTEP's 207-yard rushing effort in last Saturday's 24-7 victory.
In fact, Stoops called it "comical" that people think the Miners ran up and down the field on the Sooners.
Nathan Jeffery, who earned Conference USA player of the week honors, had 177 yards on his own before succumbing to cramps in the fourth quarter.
"The run game, you know, there are some alignment mistakes. Nothing glaring like people want to say. It was pretty simple. They're pretty simple techniques to get better at," Stoops said. "They did a couple things the first game and they had some wrinkles they hadn't shown before and to me that's not the players' fault. That's our fault as coaches. We should have had them better prepared and we missed an alignment and let the ball get out."
No cause for concern this time: Oklahoma opened the 2010 season with a 31-24 home victory over Utah State.
The seven-point difference was early cause for concern. That Sooners team went on to win a Big 12 championship.
Linebacker Tom Wort said Saturday's win at UTEP reminded him of Utah State.
"That being said, we still need to play better," Wort said. "Everyone kind of freaks out the first game, but we need to play better, and we will. Everyone freaks out, but everyone here has a level mindset. We'll get better."
More mobile: Landry Jones made a concerted effort during the offseason to work on his mobility.
During a 68-yard touchdown throw to Kenny Stills, Jones kept the play alive with his feet and hit the wide receiver, who was his third read and running a wheel route.
Jones' ability to stay alive in the pocket will force wide receivers to play until the whistle.
"With Landry being able to move - not that he wasn't mobile before, but his footwork has gotten a lot better - it just shows all of us that we have to continue to play down the field and expect the unexpected with him," Stills said.
New look: Senior linebacker Jaydan Bird got a look on offense in the UTEP game, lining up in the backfield in the Sooners' diamond formation.
It wasn't a hastily planned decision. Bird even had a number change in making the move.
"Everyone forgets he's a high school running back, and a good one," Bob Stoops said. "He does a good job in there. He did it last year for us, too. That's why we had to change his number from 55 to 44, so the ball (can get thrown) to him once in a while."
Bird is still the backup middle linebacker.
"Jaydan's a bright guy. He handles it well," Stoops said. "The times they get him in meetings or if he comes up during the day, they school him up on what they want him to do, what they're looking to do that day."