Share “OU faces game without Granger”

By Jake Trotter Published: January 1, 2008

> Granger came to OU in 2005 out of Dallas' Kimball High School as the top-rated defensive tackle prospect in the nation, but redshirted his freshman year.

Granger worked his way into the defensive tackle rotation last season as a redshirt freshman before becoming a playmaking starter this year.

“This hurts because he was really becoming a great player,” said center Jon Cooper, who goes against Granger every day in practice. “We'll just have to go along as scheduled.”

Granger had teamed with McCoy, the Big 12 defensive freshman of the year, to form one of the best young defensive tackle duos in the nation.

The Sooners were counting on Granger to help slow West Virginia, which led by quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton has the fourth-best rushing offense in the nation averaging 293 yards a game.

“It's a big loss,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “You hate it for us. It's disappointing for him. It's very surprising. You hate it for him to make a foolish, foolish decision.

“I feel worse for the other guys. That's a letdown for them.”

The Sooners will replace Granger in the starting lineup with either senior Steven Coleman, junior Cory Bennett or redshirt freshman Adrian Taylor.

Those three backups have combined for just 27 tackles this year, although Coleman and Bennett both started last season before being supplanted by Granger and McCoy this year.

“It's not a big deal,” Stoops said. “Those other guys have played a lot of football, every bit as much or more than he has.

“I've seen other guys be difference-makers.”

John Helsley and Berry Tramel contributed to this report.