Defensive end leaves Sooners; freshman returns to Louisiana

Oklahoman Modified: September 2, 2008 at 8:22 am •  Published: September 1, 2008
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Senior defensive end John Williams’ playing career appears to have ended at OU.

Monday, coach Bob Stoops said he doesn’t expect Williams to return to the team.

“John’s mentally having a hard time staying with it,” Stoops said. “Right now, we don’t anticipate him rejoining the team. In the end, you have to want to play, to do the things necessary to play and do well. It’s unfortunate.”

Williams received a hardship waiver for a sixth season of eligibility after tearing his Achilles in the fourth game last year.

But after sitting out the spring recovering from the injury, Williams was not listed on OU’s opening week depth chart, falling behind sophomore Jeremy Beal, senior Alan Davis and redshirt freshman Frank Alexander.

Williams was not in uniform during Saturday’s win over Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Alex Williams heads home: Stoops said that redshirt freshman guard Alex Williams has gone back home to Louisiana to help his family evacuate from New Orleans, which is battling Hurricane Gustav. Williams is expected to be back with the team before Saturday’s game with Cincinnati, Stoops said.

Cincy coach says Bearcats excited about visit: When Cincinnati steps on Owen Field Saturday, the experience might be unlike any back home in the Big East Conference, where the two largest stadiums – West Virginia and Pittsburgh – top out at just over 65,000.

Still, Bearcats coach Brian Kelly said he isn't concerned about the experience.

“I've coached at Penn State, taken a team in front of 106,000 at Michigan and been into some environments of that nature,” Kelly said. “I really think after the first few series, everything kind of comes back to where it's just football players and it's execution.

“We've been on the road and had some good wins on the road. At South Florida (last year) was a great crowd, about 60,000. Rutgers last year. So I think there's enough experience within our group that we're not going to go in there and wilt under the 87,000.”

If anything, Kelly said, this is what the Bearcats aspire to.

“We are really excited about going and playing in this environ, because it's what college football is all about,” he said.