OU football notebook: Sooners linebacker Corey Nelson turning heads

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: April 16, 2011

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables said the Sooners have the best weakside linebacker tandem in the country in All-America candidate Travis Lewis and Corey Nelson.

Nelson has played so well this spring, the coaching staff will try to find ways to get Nelson on the field more his sophomore year.

"I would not hesitate to put him in during an extended drive," Venables said. "We'll find ways to get both of them on the field."

Nelson recorded four tackles and a sack in Saturday's Red-White spring game. Coach Bob Stoops said Nelson played as well defensively as anyone this spring. And it wasn't even close.

"When coach Stoops said that, I just thought, 'Wow, the team has really helped push me to become a better player,'" Nelson said. "I'm going to say we because it's a team. They provided me with the skills and abilities to get better throughout practice."

Lewis, who said last fall Nelson would be better than he ever was, has a solution.

"He's definitely a player that needs be on the field almost every snap," Lewis said. "We've expanded our base defense that will allow him to. If I need to take a seat to get this guy on the field he's that good."

MORE PHYSICAL GROUND GAME

One area of emphasis this spring was to develop a more physical running attack.

"The improvement in our offensive line this spring was very noticeable," Stoops said. "Just being sounder, being able to run the football was something I've seen throughout the entire spring, in particular the last half of spring."

Offensive line coach James Patton said: "We didn't have any opportunities on the goal line today but we missed only one third-and-short... We've improved. Going against our defense every day it's been pretty good."

WAY STAYS BUSY

Junior punter Tress Way, an All-American candidate, punted for both teams. He averaged 49.5 yards on 11 punts.

"He has a chance to really be special after he refines that big leg of his," Stoops said. "You see it more and more. It's just working those couple that aren't quite as pure like he can hit it."

Because both defenses kept Way so busy, Stoops had walk-on Kelton Miller punt in the fourth quarter.



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