Oklahoma freshman defensive end D.J. Ward hasn't practiced yet, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday.
Stoops said Ward is having “spleen issues” that are keeping him off the field.
“We're unsure where that will lead,” Stoops said. “We're uncertain right now where that's going to be.”
Stoops said Ward's family and doctors are still determining how to proceed.
Ward didn't play last year as a high school senior after being denied a hardship waiver by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association after a move from Douglass to Southmoore. Ward had been granted a hardship when he moved from Lawton to Douglass. He enrolled at OU in January.
He also didn't participate in most of spring practice while his eligibility was reviewed by the NCAA. Ward did play in the spring game.
SAUNDERS WORKING ON THE OUTSIDE
Senior wide receiver Jalen Saunders transferred to OU from Fresno State before last season and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA after four 2012 games.
Saunders shined in the nine games he played, grabbing 62 catches for 829 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. He worked exclusively as a slot, inside receiver in 2012.
During his time at Fresno State, though, he was an outside threat. Saunders said Monday that he might have the opportunity to play outside some in 2013 at Oklahoma.
“I'm working a little bit of everywhere,” Saunders said. “I'm just testing the waters right now. We'll see when the season starts where I line up.”
Asked about the differences between playing inside and outside, Saunders said, “It's just a cornerback and a nickel back, just different coverages. It's where people line up at, not too much of a difference in the change of slot and outside. You just have to get open. That's what we do at receiver.”
STOOPS: REYNOLDS, FRANKS WORKING TOWARD PLAYING TIME
Stoops was asked Monday about Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks, who were each suspended along with safety Quentin Hayes for the entire 2012 season.
Reynolds, the Sooners' third-leading receiver in 2011, is a senior this year.
“He's working and doing a real good job,” Stoops said. “Nothing electrifying, but he's doing well.”
Asked if Reynolds can get back on the field, Stoops said, “We'll see. It's not easy. There are a lot of other guys that are doing pretty good. We'll see if he can earn some playing time.”
Franks was a receiver his first two years on campus, but switched to safety during his suspension. He made a few big hits during April's spring game.
“Looks much more comfortable,” Stoops said of Franks. “You can tell he finally understands where he needs to be. I like what Trey is doing. He's doing a good job in there.”
Hayes is currently projected to start as one of OU's safeties, alongside senior Gabe Lynn.
OU EXPECTS TO RUN MORE IN 2013
Junior offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson said he expects the Sooners to run the ball more and more effectively in 2013 than they did a year ago.
The Sooners return four senior running backs — Brennan Clay, Damien Williams, Roy Finch and Trey Millard — and have an experienced offensive line with good depth.
“It's important to every lineman to run the ball,” Thompson said. “That's what offensive linemen want to do. No linemen wants to sit back and take a blow from a D-lineman. We want to do the attacking.”