NORMAN — Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson limped around the field for most of the game Saturday with his right foot in a gray air-cast boot.
Jefferson sprained his right ankle during the Sooners' 69-13 victory over Florida A&M.
Late in the first quarter, the Sooners' safety hobbled off the field, got his ankle taped and returned a play later. He walked off the field hurt again after that play.
That's when the trainers cut off the tape and began icing the ankle.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops and the trainers don't think the sprain is significant. They decided to put Jefferson in a boot and sit out the rest of the game.
It wasn't worth the risk, even if his family made the trip from the San Diego area to watch the junior in the Sooners home opener.
“If it was a tighter, tougher game he could have probably played,” Stoops said, “but we didn't feel we needed to do that.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said Jefferson should be ready for their next game in two weeks.
“Tony has been playing well and he's disappointed,” Mike Stoops said. “We anticipate him to be back (for Kansas State).”
When Jefferson left the game, the score was already 14-0 in OU's favor. That's when Mike Stoops looked to his second string, senior defensive back Jesse Paulsen.
Paulsen, a former walk-on from New Mexico, was actually busy checking to make sure Jefferson was okay.
“Keep your eyes on your guys.” That's what Mike Stoops told Paulsen before he went into the game.
“It was my first time on defense, just getting used to the speed,” Paulsen said. “It was a lot different. I feel like I did okay. I've got some stuff to work on.”
Paulsen made three tackles, but a mistake late in the second quarter, when Paulsen was supposed to be covering deep. Paulsen left Demontre Hurst trying to catch Florida A&M's Travis Harvey. A 75-yard catch and run later, Harvey beat Hurst to the end zone.
“That touchdown was my fault,” Paulsen said. “The rotation, I should have been high and I would have helped out Demontre. Just a mental block on my part.” Before Saturday's game, Paulsen only had two assisted tackles in his OU career.
“Jesse's been doing an excellent job,” Bob Stoops said. “Made some nice tackles, was where he was supposed to be all night, except for the one play. I'm not throwing him under the bus. He understands. He'll learn from it and get better.”