NORMAN — Frank Shannon not only remains a part of Oklahoma’s team but has received the majority of first-team reps at his inside linebacker spot so far in camp, Sooners players said Tuesday.
“He’s been taking all of them,” sophomore linebacker Jordan Evans said before dialing it back a bit. “But we’re doing a whole bunch of things … I shouldn’t say all of them, but he’s taking a lot of reps. So is Caleb (Gastelum). So am I.”
With Evans missing Saturday’s scrimmage with the lingering effects of the flu, Shannon and Gastellum worked there during the scrimmage.
For now, Shannon is practicing amid the uncertainty of his future with the Sooners.
Shannon was suspended from the university for a year following a Title IX investigation into an alleged sexual assault. A Cleveland County district judge issued an order allowing Shannon to remain enrolled and to continue working with the team while he fights the finding in court.
The university asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday to prohibit the district court from blocking the enforcement.
Oklahoma’s coaches didn’t directly address Shannon’s situation on Tuesday.
Coach Bob Stoops didn’t address it at all outside of talking about Evans, Shannon’s presumed replacement.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops spoke indirectly about the effects of possibly losing Shannon.
“It’s like anything,” Mike Stoops said. “We coach the players that are there. It’s pretty much how it goes. All we can control are the players that are on the field. That’s all we ever have controlled.”
While Shannon remains part of the team, the Sooners also have to be ready for the possibility he either won’t be available this season or that he could remain a part of the team but not play while the court battle continues.
“I’m expecting Jordan to have a great year,” Bob Stoops said. “He’s a guy that’s really come on and he’s probably the biggest guy we’ve got and he’s all 220, 222 (pounds). He had a really good spring and summer. He’s very natural in there and we’re expecting Jordan to really make a difference this year.”
Evans gained around 20 pounds since last season.
He got significant playing time last year against Texas Tech when Shannon was injured and took advantage, recording eight tackles.
“Confidence can carry you a long way and after that Tech game I went in there and I was able to be productive and got a lot of confidence,” Evans said. “It has carried on through. It’s good to have some experience under my belt.”
Shannon has been able to stay tuned in on football when he’s needed to, Evans said.
“His mentality is focused,” Evans said. “This is football. This is business. He’s very focused on not only football but also his teammates.”
Shannon helped Evans adapt last season and has continued teaching Evans this year.
“Frank was my mentor coming in as a freshman,” Evans said. “Sometimes you think the older guys don’t want to mess with you because we came in to take their spots. But Frank is a different kind of person. He actually mentored me and talked to me and helped me out. The Tech game, when he was hurt, they were telling me — the trainers — that he was in the doctor’s office screaming for me, whooping and hollering. He’s definitely a team player. A good friend of mine.”