It appeared Javon Harris might be the odd man out in a two-a-days experiment. Harris entered the offseason as OU's starting free safety. When fall camp opened a week ago, Tony Jefferson was being auditioned at free safety.
After linebacker Travis Lewis suffered a broken toe Monday in practice, the experiment is over. Harris once again is the starting free safety and will be the player who inherits a key role from Quinton Carter, an All-American last season.
“Once I knew the experiment was going to happen, it fired me up,” Harris said. “In my mind, I had 29 practices before the first game. I was going to work hard every practice to get this position back. Coaches told me, ‘We're not giving up on you.' Losing a guy like Travis, everyone has to step up their game.”
Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez said: “The way it's been structured here, Coach (Bob) Stoops does a great job. This program has been built on the best players play. It's not what you've done in the past. These kids recognize that and know they have to perform every day. Javon has had a great attitude.”
JONES SECOND IN HEISMAN WATCH
ESPN's 15 college football analysts conducted a preseason Heisman poll. OU quarterback Landry Jones finished second with one first-place vote, six second-place votes and three third-place votes.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, receiving 12 first-place votes, was the runaway winner. Oregon running back LaMichael James was third. Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who received the other two first-place votes, was fourth. Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon was seventh.
Jamell Fleming was one of the top cornerbacks in the country last season. But when Fleming was away from the program, taking care of academic issues, sophomore Gabe Lynn stepped up his game. Fleming regained eligibility this summer and looks better than last season.
“(Fleming) is bigger, he's stronger, he's quicker, he's faster and he makes plays,” Martinez said. “He was pretty good last year, and he feels more comfortable in the system.
“The whole time (Fleming was gone), Gabe Lynn and Lamar Harris, got those reps they generally would not have gotten. They've proven themselves.”
Stoops said there is no update on the eligibility status of junior defensive end Ronnell Lewis, incoming freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer or incoming freshmen defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Jordan Wade.... The Sooners went through a 40-play scrimmage Wednesday morning, concentrating on second and third down, third-and-short and goal line situations.