Oklahoma football: Stacy McGee's suspension leads to more player shuffling by coaches

Senior David King and sophomore Geneo Grissom, each defensive ends for the better part of their careers, will be relied upon in new roles.
by Jason Kersey Published: August 17, 2012
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photo - COLLEGE FOOTBALL / BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP: The Sooners' Stacy McGee (92) Jeremy Beal (44) and Corey Nelson (25) after stopping Nebraska on fourth down late in the fourth quarter to seal the 23-20 win in the Big 12 football championship game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (NU) at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Arlington, Texas.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
COLLEGE FOOTBALL / BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP: The Sooners' Stacy McGee (92) Jeremy Beal (44) and Corey Nelson (25) after stopping Nebraska on fourth down late in the fourth quarter to seal the 23-20 win in the Big 12 football championship game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (NU) at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

“It's like when you're a kid and your mom tells you not to touch the stove, and you do it anyway and got burned,” Walker said of McGee's suspension.

In the meantime, talented-but-untested redshirt freshman tackle Jordan Phillips will likely shoulder more responsibility in addition to King's move.

OU had actually been planning to shift the versatile King inside on occasion; in fact, King spoke just last week about how much he enjoyed rushing from the interior.

“I like rushing from the 3 (technique),” King said then, speaking in football jargon to describe a defensive lineman who lines up on an opposing guard's outside shoulder.

“I might liking rushing from the 3 more than I like from the end, but don't tell Coach (Bobby Jack) Wright that.”

For at least the early part of this season, King's opportunities there will be abundant. He said coaches, including Wright, talked to him after practice, informed him of McGee's suspension, and said that for “the first couple games of the season,” he'd move to tackle.

“David has consistently weighed about 275-280 pounds,” Stoops said. “He could treat himself to a few more cheeseburgers, and he could be 285 pounds in no time. He has got the strength to play in there and the times he has played in there, he has done well.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Grissom found out his position change was worth it. The former four-star prospect from Hutchinson, Kan., was a third-stringer as a redshirt freshman last season, seeing action in six games and recording five tackles.

Grissom has battled injuries throughout his OU career so far; he redshirted as a true freshman because of a foot stress fracture, and then missed most of spring football because of the same injury in his other foot.

He told OU's official website Friday he asked for the switch because he thought that provided him the best shot at playing.

OU brings back no experience at tight end; James Hanna and Trent Ratterree were both lost to graduation, and the once-promising Austin Haywood transferred.

“Honestly, it's been the most fun change ever,” Grissom told SoonerSports.com. “It's relearning the game from a new position.

“Who doesn't like to catch the ball and score touchdowns?”

Junior college transfer Brannon Green was listed first on the spring depth chart, with true freshman Taylor McNamara as his backup. Both are still expected to contribute this season, Stoops said.

“(Grissom) has been awesome; we have really been pleased with him,” Stoops said. “Every day it has gotten better and better. He is catching the ball well, so it has been a real positive.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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