OU Football Notebook: Saunders addresses his arrest
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, December 31, 2012
12/31/12 at 3:40 AM
As Oklahoma followers wondered whether Jalen Saunders would be suspended for the Cotton Bowl, so did Saunders.
The starting slot receiver told reporters Sunday that he found out he would play last Friday. That's the same day OU issued a statement declaring Saunders' Dec. 2 arrest on a marijuana possession complaint would not keep him from playing against Texas A&M.
Saunders had gone home to California for the team's holiday break. Receivers coach Jay Norvell called him with the good news.
"It was kind of a messed up deal," Saunders said. "I honestly didn't know if I was going to play or not."
He practiced throughout the month hoping he would play.
"I prepared the same way," he said. "If I wasn't going to play, I was going to have to help out my teammates. And if I was playing, I was preparing myself. It was, I guess you could say, a win-win. I was going to help my team regardless."
Saunders put himself in limbo when police pulled him over along with teammate Cortez Johnson, then discovered three pieces of evidence of marijuana in their vehicle. According to an investigator's affidavit, neither player admitted possession of the marijuana.
Saunders is due in court Jan. 8.
"I'm not going to make the same mistake twice," he said. "It's a learning experience. I'm over it. I'm past it."
King returning to tackle?: Stacy McGee will miss the Cotton Bowl because of his Dec. 24 DUI arrest. That thins OU's defensive tackle position, and could mean defensive end David King will slide inside against Texas A&M.
"I was playing tackle and working a lot inside when we started practice before the bowl and before the mess (McGee's situation) ever happened," King said Sunday. "We're still working it out, but we'll see what happens on Friday."
During the open part of Sunday's practice, King worked inside with Jamarkus McFarland and Casey Walker. R.J. Washington and Rashod Favors rotated at defensive end with Chuka Ndulue and Geneo Grissom.
How to handle the Heisman: Heisman Trophy winners have occasionally been sidetracked by publicity and pressure in the weeks leading up to their bowl games. It is something Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin says he has addressed with quarterback Johnny Manziel.
"Winning the Heisman should not be a punishment," Sumlin said Sunday. "You have a guy that just turned 20 in Orlando or in New York. You have to be careful about heaping on too much of what the expectations are for a young man. We have to be very, very cognizant of what is going on. I think he understands that.
"But at the same time, a lot of things that have made him who he is right now, all of a sudden you can't shut that off."
Asked if he has been distracted by the hoopla, Manziel said: "Not at all. As soon as we got back to College Station, as soon as we got back to watching film, working out and stuff, our focus was on the Cotton Bowl."