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OU notebook: Javon Harris up to the challenge at free safety

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: August 10, 2011

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.

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