OU Notebook: Jefferson back
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
9/18/12 at 3:45 AM
Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson returned to football practice on Monday, nine days after suffering a right-ankle injury in the first quarter of a Sept. 8 victory over Florida A&M.
"Tony Jefferson practiced the whole day today. No more questions about Tony. He took every snap," Bob Stoops said before slipping out of the interview room. The OU coach said during his Monday press conference that he would give a post-practice update on Jefferson.
Jefferson's return will help strengthen a Sooners defense that faces visiting Kansas State on Saturday. Game time for the Big 12 Conference opener is 6:50 p.m.
Jefferson is among the Sooners' top tacklers. He has 11 stops in two games (despite only playing one quarter against Florida A&M). In last year's 58-17 win over Kansas State, he had a team-high six tackles, including a sack and forced a fumble.
Back in the mix: Casey Walker is settling back into the defensive line rotation this week.
The senior defensive tackle missed the first two games for personal reasons, but is fitting in right now.
"He practiced, did well, looked like the same old guy out there working," Stoops said of Walker's return to practice last week. "So we're excited to have him back. I expect him to play well."
Walker will help anchor a defensive line that will focus on Kansas State's running attack.
Walker's return could help David King return to his natural defensive line position. King played exclusively at tackle in the Sooners' first two contests.
Yes, he's fast: Some of the younger players told R.J. Washington that Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein didn't look too fast on tape. Washington made sure to change their thoughts right away,
"There was a play (last year) where we missed three or four tackles and he just scooted into the end zone," Washington said. "He's also fast. The freshmen were like 'He doesn't look that fast.' You don't understand ... don't look at how fast he's going. Look at how many yards he's covering."
Kansas State runs a unique offense and there will be chances to hit the quarterback. But it's not the kind of contact that Washington would choose.
"I'd much rather get more sacks," the senior defensive end said, adding a smile. "But it's whatever. It's who we're going to play and how we're going to play. It's fun because you have a big 6-5 dude that's respectable and is going to give it to you if you don't give it to him."
Taking care of business: Stoops is 7-1 in head-to-head games against his mentor, K-State coach Bill Snyder.
Stoops played under Hayden Fry at Iowa (1979-82) when Snyder was on Fry's staff. Stoops was a graduate assistant at Iowa under both coaches and took a job at Kansas State as defensive backs coach in 1989.
Stoops chose not to focus on the "pupil vs. mentor" angle.
"You sort of are just distant from it," Stoops said. "You're just doing your job. More than anything, you're focusing on your team and their team. It isn't about individuals, not in this game. I don't give much to that."
Tough news: Maurice Hall, a junior linebacker from St. Petersburg, Fla., who is holding a scholarship offer from OU, was a victim of a drive-by shooting on Saturday.
Hall, who plays at Gibbs High School, was with a friend when a car sped in front of them shooting, he said.
His high school coach told the Tampa Bay Times that a bullet traveled through his right side and into his stomach and colon.
Hall isn't expected to play again this season.
OU's Tony Jefferson gets tangled up with Texas' Fozzy Whittaker after intercepting a pass during last year's game in Dallas. Jefferson has returned to practice after an ankle injury. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World file