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Oklahoma football: Moving offensive players to defense

by Berry Tramel Published: January 14, 2013

Mike Stoops doesn’t have a filter. That can get him in trouble, as it did Friday, when he went on The Sports Animal and said that if Texas A&M can keep Johnny Manziel “out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good … If they can keep him off the Twitter, he might have three-four Heismans. He’ll have that type of ability.”

But Coach Mike’s propensity for saying whatever’s on his mind is awfully beneficial, too, for knowing what’s going on with OU football. For example, the idea that the Sooners might move someone from offense to defense.

Just so happens, earlier Friday, Bob Stoops met with some writers for a season-ending chat. We asked Bob Stoops about moving some offensive players to defense, including some specific players.

“I don’t think so,” Stoops said. “Not at this point. When you get into spring ball, you never know what can happen.”

What about fullback Trey Millard as a linebacker possibility, which I’ve discussed on the radio and heck, even brought up to Stoops a year ago or so?

“He’d be a good one,” Stoops said. “I don’t listen to the radio. It’s a good idea.”

How about just playing Millard both ways? “That would go over real well with the no huddle. He’d get over 200 snaps a game.”

Then five hours later, Mike Stoops went on the radio and was asked much the same thing. Is OU looking at moving some offensive players to defense?

“Sure,” Mike Stoops said. “We’re looking at probably, still looking at three or four receivers and guys. We’re always looking at getting our best players on the field.”

The Sooners seem to have a glut at receiver and seem to be thin in the defensive backfield. Wouldn’t it make sense to try some athletically-talented receivers in the secondary? Someone like Derrick Woods or even Lacoltan Bester?

“You have to look at the attitude, too, of the player,” Mike Stoops said. “Can he transition. A lot of people like playing positions because that’s all they know. Trying to get them to change is the hardest part. That’s hard when kids are so comfortable. Kind of the age we live in.”

Mike Stoops did say Millard to linebacker was a non-starter. “No, that’s not going to happen,” he said.

And here’s one reason why. Mike Stoops is big on his linebackers. That’s right. The position that came under such scrutiny in November — in stretches of the Baylor and West Virginia games, Stoops employed a no-linebacker alignment — is now lauded by Stoops.

“I think our strongest group will be our linebacker group,” Mike Stoops said. “Corey Nelson and Franklin Shannon could be two of the best inside linebackers we’ve around here with their speed and athleticism. Gives them a chance to be a special group of linebackers.”


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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