OU Notebook: Stoops reviews 'judgment calls' during Notre Dame loss
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
10/30/12 at 4:01 AM
Bob Stoops was careful Monday to say he wasn't using officiating as an excuse for Oklahoma's 30-13 loss to Notre Dame. But he did bring up two instances that cost his team. Two "judgment calls" as he kept calling them.
The first was Bronson Irwin's holding penalty that canceled Blake Bell's first-quarter touchdown run. The second was the interception Manti Te'o made after the Irish had taken a 20-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.
"Whether it's interference or not, it isn't called," Stoops said. "Whether it's intercepted or not, they rule it was intercepted."
Landry Jones threw incomplete to Jalen Saunders because linebacker Dan Fox broke up the pass from behind. From the ground, Saunders signaled he had been interfered with.
Meanwhile, Te'o dove in and slid his hands across the grass to grab the ball. It looked like a clean interception, although there was some question as to whether the ball touched the ground along the way. OU center Gabe Ikard, trailing the play, motioned that it had.
At any rate, there certainly didn't appear to be enough evidence to change the call, and the replay official allowed it to stand.
"It's tight enough that if they rule incomplete they probably would have stood with that judgment as well," Stoops said.
Whaley still MIA: Saturday marked the second straight week that Dominique Whaley, OU's starting running back when the season began, did not play. Damien Williams, Trey Millard and Brennan Clay got all of the carries.
It makes sense for the productive Williams and battering ram Millard to get the ball. Clay looked spry in OU's win over Kansas the previous Saturday.
But for Whaley to completely vanish made it worth wondering if he had hit a snag in recovering from his broken ankle of 2011.
"No, he's fine," Stoops said. "He's been doing well. He's practicing. He's as good as he can be."
But again, to drop off the depth chart?
"Well, depending on what we're doing in some cases, one (back) may do some things better than the other," Stoops said.
Cyclones lose star linebacker: The Sooners will be facing a shorthanded Iowa State team Saturday in Ames. Jake Knott, the linebacker who was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday morning, underwent shoulder surgery around the same time.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said Knott could potentially return for a bowl game. But otherwise, the stellar career of the all-conference senior is over.
Knott played through the injury at Oklahoma State two weeks ago, and then again in Iowa State's 35-21 victory over Baylor Saturday.
Jefferson a Thorpe semifinalist: Tony Jefferson, OU's leading tackler with 59 stops, was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the nation's top defensive back.
Jefferson led the Sooners with 11 tackles against Notre Dame. His open-field pop on Everett Golson knocked the Irish quarterback from the game late in the third quarter.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is tackled by Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson on Saturday. Jefferson leads in tackles at OU with 59 stops, and was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. SUE OGROCKI / Associated Presss