Sophomore tight end Austin Haywood has announced he plans to transfer. Haywood left the team Friday and didn't suit out against Texas Tech.
“He decided to transfer mid-term. We wish him well,” coach Bob Stoops announced after Monday's practice.
OU's two veteran tight ends are seniors — James Hanna and Trent Ratterree. Max Stevenson, a redshirt freshman from Spring, Texas, would be the starting tight end during spring drills. Laith Harlow, a commitment from Tallahassee, might be in the mix next fall.
Some spread offenses have all but eliminated using tight ends, but Stevenson and Harlow are examples of OU's commitment to the position.
HUNNICUTT STILL THE KICKER
Michael Hunnicutt missed two field goals in the loss to Texas Tech, including a 28-yard attempt that could have made it a one possession game in the waning minutes, but he remains OU's kicker. Hunnicutt is 11 of 14 on field goals, 31 of 31 on extra points.
“I've been very pleased with him,” Stoops said. “Obviously, the other night we needed it to be better. But this was his first time out there (in a pressure situation). Through this whole period of time, I've been pleased. I have confidence he'll make those in the future.”
Jimmy Stevens is 4-of-4 this year on field goals, 16-of-17 dating back to the final month last season. That includes seven field goals against Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Stevens is nearly recovered from a strained right quadriceps injury and began kicking again on Monday. Still not 100 percent, an evaluation on Stevens will be made later in the week after testing his leg.
Stoops said he expects everyone but center Ben Habern (broken forearm) as having a chance to possibly play this week.
Running back Dominique Whaley had a flu bug. Linebacker Tom Wort (concussion) and defensive tackle Casey Walker (thumb) should play. Even cornerback Jamell Fleming, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery six days ago, might play.
“Decent possibility,” Stoops said.
It's another example of how modern medicine performs minor miracles.
“It's depending on what they have to do,” Stoops said. “He had minimal swelling. It's all different, each one, how things respond.”
CHARACTER WILL BE REVEALED
Several players and coaches said Monday's practice was good, a contrast to a couple last week that lacked high energy. It was a harsh reminder that good practice habits lead to better play on Saturdays. How will OU respond following a shocking home loss?
“We have the character and the guys on this team to do it,” said quarterback Landry Jones. “We just have to mentally prepare and be mentally ready for each game and that comes in practice.
“On Saturday, I think we had this expectation of what the game was going to be like. Then when it didn't happen, we might have pressed a little bit. We played hard at the end of the game, had a chance to come back in the fourth quarter and get it done. We just came up a little short.”
Players and coaches know everyone will be watching to see how the Sooners respond against No. 10 Kansas State, a major surprise. OU is a two-touchdown favorite, but Snyder Family Stadium's sea of purple will be rowdy.
“We have character,” said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. “We recruit kids that have character. If they don't have character, they don't survive, they don't make it here.
“These kids invest a lot in the off-season and throughout the year. It means a lot to them. They want to play well on Saturdays. They only get so many opportunities. Our kids are young. They make mistakes. They show immaturity. Unfortunately, we showed immaturity last Saturday.”
JONES EARNS PLAYING TIME
Linebacker Kellen Jones, who transferred from Michigan during the summer but was granted instant eligibility, played several snaps against Texas Tech. He signed with the Wolverines in February out of St. Pius X High School in Houston but decided to leave the program before the season.