NORMAN — Corey Nelson was back at practice Monday, doing many of the same things he always does.
He spent time going over what Texas does offensively and talked with freshman Dominique Alexander, telling him things he needs to look for Saturday in the Cotton Bowl.
Instead of being right in the middle of things, decked out in pads and preparing himself, the Sooners senior linebacker was in a much different role.
After suffering a season-ending tear of his pectoral muscle against TCU, Nelson was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday.
But the Sooners' best linebacker and possibly their best defender through the first five games didn't want to spend this week recovering away from the team while the Sooners prepared for the Red River Rivalry.
“He wants to hold off until next week because he wants to be out on the field coaching and be around the guys all week,” Bob Stoops said Monday. “You love it. He wants to remain in that leadership role and do all he can to help us.”
Nelson's presence was particularly useful to Alexander and junior Aaron Franklin.
Stoops said that whichever of those two players had the best week of practice would start against Texas.
“Corey is right there with me, and he's helped me out the whole way through,” Alexander said. “I know what I need to, reading my keys and everything. He's trying to get me as successful as I can be.”
Things were a little chaotic against TCU in the immediate aftermath of Nelson's injury.
Alexander — and the defense as a whole — looked confused at times without Nelson, who has been critical in making sure players were lined up properly.