Nic Harris at MLB?
Talk has heated up that safety Nic Harris will start at middle linebacker Saturday against Kansas. That would put Quinton Carter in the starting lineup at strong safety.
Is it true?
“I doubt it,” Harris said on Tuesday. “I’m pretty sure that I’m honed in at the safety position right now and I’m just taking that leadership role back there.”
Many, including me, expect Austin Box to be the starter at middle linebacker in place of the injured Ryan Reynolds. That’s basically been the “read-between-the-lines” responses of OU coaches and players this week, including from Harris and Box.
But this wouldn’t be the first time OU’s coaches have been playing something close to the vest in order to surprise an opponent (and the media). Few would have guessed that Malcolm Kelly was going to miss all but two plays of the Fiesta Bowl (I watched him practice several times in the week leading up to that game; he even told me his thigh was fine and that he was going to play).
If this Harris move turns out to be true, it could be quite a gamble. For one, you now have two positions in flux instead of just one. The only way it makes sense is if Box or Brandon Crow, or even Travis Lewis, haven’t given Brent Venables and co. reason to be confident this week during practice.
As we saw last Saturday (when Texas exploited Reynolds’ injury with the run and pass) middle linebacker is a key position on this defense. And to shore it up, OU must pull out all the stops. That includes using Harris there.
By Jake Trotter
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