Defensive end Chaz Nelson, a junior who transferred to Oklahoma from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, is out at least six weeks with an MCL injury, and converted linebacker P.L. Lindley has a high-ankle sprain, position coach Bobby Jack Wright said after practice Tuesday.
The defensive end position suddenly seems a little more thin. Tuesday's news was preceded by David King's move inside to tackle. But Wright also said true freshmen Charles Tapper and Michael Onuoha will not redshirt.
King's move came after senior tackle Stacy McGee was suspended indefinitely.
“You've got to have depth, or you don't make the move,” Wright said of King's move inside. “After you make the move, now your depth is going to be hurt a little bit.”
Senior R.J. Washington and sophomore Chuka Ndulue are now slated to start at the defensive end spots, with Rashod Favors, who also switched from linebacker, as the third man in the rotation.
After that, Tapper and Onuoha will be relied upon.
“We have 10 more days of getting ready to play in a game for those two young freshmen,” Wright said. “There's a lot of practice ahead of us yet, and they'll get a lot more snaps now than they would have.
“Definitely no doubt we're going to end up using them. They're ready to play, they just don't have game-time experience.”
NO NEWS ON SAUNDERS OR JOHNSON
Coach Bob Stoops said both receiver Jalen Saunders, who transferred in from Fresno State, and former Arizona defensive back Cortez Johnson still haven't heard back from the NCAA on their waiver requests, which, if granted, would allow them to play immediately rather than sit out the usually required one year.
Saunders (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) has impressed coaches in practices so far and, if he is allowed to play, would probably be a mainstay in the receiver rotation along with Justin Brown, Trey Metoyer, Kenny Stills, Sterling Shepard and Lacoltan Bester.
Saunders led Fresno State in receiving last season with 50 catches, 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns while earning All-Western Athletic Conference honors.
Johnson was a true freshman at Arizona last year, when he recorded 16 tackles under then-Wildcats coach and now-Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
After Stoops was fired midseason, Tim Kish took over in the interim. Kish is now OU's linebackers coach.
FRANKS MOVES TO DB, SWITCHES JERSEY NUMBER
Junior Trey Franks, who remains suspended indefinitely from games but is practicing, has been officially switched to safety, Bob Stoops said.
And, according to OU's updated roster, he's also changed jersey numbers from No. 2 to 24, which was previously worn by recently departed defensive back Bennett Okotcha.
“He's been doing it the last week,” Bob Stoops said of Franks. “He looks good back there. Hopefully that's something that keeps developing like it is. He's a strong guy, has got great quickness.”
Franks was suspended indefinitely with Jaz Reynolds, Quentin Hayes and Kameel Jackson in May. Franks, along with Reynolds and Hayes, was reinstated for practices before fall camp began. Jackson was dismissed and transferred to Louisiana-Monroe.
Mike Stoops said he's still in “experiment mode” with Franks.
“I don't have a feel right now of how instinctive he is, and how much I'm going to have to coach,” Mike Stoops said. “There are certain things players have to be able to react to. Athletically, he can do whatever he wants. There are possibilities there.”
Franks appeared in 11 games last season, grabbing 22 catches for 196 yards. The switch could end up being a great thing for him personally; with the suddenly abundant receiver corps, it may have been tough for Franks to work his way into the rotation after his suspension.
KITTLE: JOHNSON TAKES EDGE IN LEFT TACKLE BATTLE
Senior Lane Johnson has pulled back ahead of sophomore Tyrus Thompson in the battle to be Oklahoma's starting left tackle, position coach Bruce Kittle said Monday.
Thompson started the spring game ahead of Johnson, who was the starting right tackle a year ago.
Regardless of who starts, though, Kittle said Johnson will be used at both tackle positions. When he plays on the right side to give Daryl Williams a break, Thompson will play on the left side.