Freshman linebackers have big performances

By Jake Trotter Modified: April 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm •  Published: April 12, 2009
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NORMAN — Jaydan Bird wrapped up running back Justin Johnson, dragged him to the sideline and tossed him into the kicking net.

The play drew a personal foul and an earful from coach Bob Stoops.


But it also personified the tenacious and unrelenting performances of true freshman linebackers Bird, Ronnell Lewis and Tom Wort during Saturday's Red-White Spring Game.

And for that matter, the entire spring.

“They were flying around today,” said linebacker Travis Lewis. “They all have that mean streak to them, they're always talking mess during practice.

“I'm excited about them.”

Saturday, the trio combined for nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup, a sensational debut for three players who would be prepping for their high school proms had they not enrolled early at OU in January.

Wort, a middle linebacker, delivered a pair of bone-rattling hits.

Bird, who is playing outside linebacker, finished with the most tackles of any second-team defender.

Ronnell Lewis, also working on the outside, showed off his speed by chasing down Johnson on a screen play.

Together, they were a big reason why the Sooner running backs averaged only 1.6 yards per carry and didn't have a run go for more than 11 yards.

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