NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops declined to address Jalen Saunders' Cotton Bowl status Tuesday, when he spoke to reporters for the first time since the junior receiver's arrest for marijuana possession.
“Those matters are handled internally,” Stoops said. “Once that’s determined, I’ll say so.”
Saunders, who transferred from Fresno State and became eligible before the Sooners’ Oct. 13 game against Texas, quickly turned into one of the team’s most dynamic offensive weapons. He caught 53 passes for 766 yards and three touchdowns.
Saunders was arrested early in the morning on Sunday, Dec. 2, hours after the Sooners’ regular-season finale, a 24-17 victory at TCU.
KING TIRED OF ‘JOHNNY FOOTBALL’ TALK
Oklahoma faces the enormously difficult task of defending Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner who was voted The Associated Press’ Player of the Year on Tuesday, in a few short weeks.
Senior defensive end David King said he’s excited for the matchup, and that the hype surrounding Manziel — nicknamed “Johnny Football” — is extra motivation.
“We have to sit around here for a month and watch ESPN and all they talk about is ‘Johnny Football,’ or ‘Johnny Heisman,’ or whatever they call him now,” King said. “The whole national media is scrutinizing our defense and that we can’t stop the run.
“We have a lot to prove and, on January 4, we’ll be ready to play.”
JONES: JOHNSON ONE OF TEAM’S BEST ATHLETES
Quarterback Landry Jones called senior left tackle Lane Johnson “probably one of the best all-around athletes on our team.” “If you look at his size and his capabilities with what he’s able to do athletically. ... The guy is close to 305 or 310, and he’s still running a 4.7 (in the 40-yard dash),” Jones said.
Johnson was a quarterback in high school, and began his college career at Kilgore College at the position before transitioning to tight end. He played there originally at Oklahoma, then switched to defensive end before landing at offensive tackle before the start of last season.
“He’s made huge leaps on his technique and just playing that position this year alone,” Jones said. “He’s set himelf up to make a lot of money in the future.”
Stoops said there won’t be any disciplinary action for Tyrus Thompson, who was penalized in the regular-season finale for punching a TCU defender. The Big 12 already confirmed it won’t step in to levy additional punishment, either. ... The status of injured sophomore tackle Daryl Williams, who missed OU’s last two games after spraining an MCL at West Virginia, is still unclear, Stoops said, adding that a decision won’t be made until the team arrives at the bowl site. ... Stoops said he still hasn’t received all of his players’ final grades for the fall semester, so he doesn’t know yet if any players will miss the Cotton Bowl because of recent academic issues.