After Tulsa's first touchdown against Oklahoma last week, which came on blown coverage, TV cameras caught Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables having a heart-to-heart chat with young linebacker Corey Nelson.
Venables was reminding Nelson to communicate, to prevent such breakdowns. Making calls is particularly important for the sophomore from Dallas, while he fills in for all-conference player and leader Travis Lewis.
“We have to make sure everyone's on the same page,” Nelson said, referring also to middle linebacker Tom Wort. “I feel like I have to help control the defense while Travis is gone. To see something like that happen, it's detrimental to myself and the team.”
Nelson, who had three tackles, received positive reviews from the coaching staff. He played in all 14 games last season, but last week was Nelson's first career start.
“It was a pretty good start for me,” he said. “There's a lot of things I can improve on, though. I'm not going to lie. I can be better with my technique, being able to read the formations faster and knowing the offense and defense.”
nelson not ruling out lewis just yet
Coach Bob Stoops has made it seem unlikely Lewis would return for the Florida State game a week from today. Based on Lewis' attitude this week in meetings, Nelson is not so sure.
“I could tell when we were in the film room,” Nelson said Monday. “He's so ready. He's focused to get back out there. Travis isn't the guy to give up on anything, really.”