Junior linebacker Tom Wort came under some criticism for his performance in Saturday's season opener at UTEP.
Monday, Wort told reporters that coaches graded him at 93 percent and that his role was to maintain a gap.
“I graded out the highest I've graded out since I've been here,” Wort said. “I've seen what's been said about me, that I played terrible that game.
“I don't think people understand what gap defense is. If you have a gap, you have to maintain that gap. If you leave your gap and they run it in there, it's your fault. This whole game is about playing your gap and being right. The grades show me and Corey (Nelson) did the right thing. We hit our gaps inside.”
He defined what make up his grade from coaches.
“Every play, you either do it right or you do it wrong,” Wort said. “You get a plus or a minus, and it's a percentage out of that. It's like a test.”
Wort recorded seven tackles Saturday, six of which were assisted. He said Nelson's grade was also in the 90s.
“The linebackers, pretty much all night, were hitting our gaps,” Wort said. “It kind of restricts us a little bit in terms of free range and to make plays. Me and Corey did our job exactly how we were told to do it. I'm pleased with the way me and Corey played.”
OFFENSE WILL PLAY FASTER WITH TIME
Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said the offense will begin to pick up the tempo a little more once the younger, less-experienced players are more familiar with the offense.
In Saturday's opener at UTEP, Oklahoma ran its traditional no-huddle offense, but didn't move nearly as fast between plays as it did last season.
“The more familiar our guys become, the faster we'll play,” Norvell said. “We kinda wanted to find out about some people.
“We have a lot of new guys that are playing our system for the first time. The more that they understand it and the more that we push them to play faster, the faster we'll play. I expect that to improve as we go along and we take the training wheels off these guys. We've gotta go.”
FOUR FAMU PLAYERS SUSPENDED FOR OU GAME
Florida A&M and Oklahoma, opponents that aren't at all evenly matched for Saturday's game in Norman, don't have much in common when it comes to football.
But they now share this unfortunate characteristic: Both will be missing important players due to suspensions.
FAMU coach Joe Taylor announced Tuesday that he has suspended four players, including the team's best defensive back and best receiver, for Saturday's game at No. 5 Oklahoma.
Cornerback Devontae Johnson, who led Florida A&M defenders last season with five interceptions, is among the suspended players, as is Lenworth Lennon, the team's leader last year with 45 catches.
Florida A&M officials said the suspensions are for undisclosed violation of team rules.
Wide receiver Dewayne Harvey and backup offensive lineman Daniel Lennon are also suspended.
The Rattlers (0-1), a Football Championship Subdivision program, lost their season opener last weekend at Tennessee State.
JEFFERY NAMED C-USA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UTEP sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery was honored by Conference USA as its Player of the Week for his performance in the Miners' 24-7 home loss to Oklahoma last week.
Jeffery, who rushed for 177 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown on a blocked-punt return to become the first UTEP player to earn the league's player of the week honor since 2010.
“He made some courageous runs,” said UTEP coach Mike Price, according to the El Paso Times.
Jeffery strained a groin in the third quarter of Saturday's loss. When he left the game, the Sooners led 10-7 and Jeffery's last three carries had gone for 20, 71 and 12 yards.
Price said Jeffery will probably play in the Miners' next game against Ole Miss.
FLORIDA A&M TICKETS AVAILABLE
The OU athletic department announced Tuesday that a limited number of tickets to Saturday’s home opener have been returned from Florida A&M.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Gaylord Family—Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets can call (800) 456-4668, go to SoonerSports.com or visit the OU Ticket Office during regular business hours.