Cornerback Jamell Fleming is one of 16 Oklahoma seniors that will be honored before Saturday's 11 a.m. home finale with Iowa State.
Fleming last season was second in the nation in passes defended. He spent six months away from the program but returned during the summer to solidify a cornerback tandem with Demontre Hurst.
“It's been a little bit of a roller coaster ride,” Fleming said. “I'm just glad I'm able to finish this year and play in this last (home) game. It's been a little journey. I thank the coaches they gave me another shot.”
Fleming's favorite career highlight was a 55-yard touchdown return of an interception in last year's Fiesta Bowl.
SOONERS FOCUSED ON IOWA STATE
If the Sooners win Saturday against Iowa State, Bedlam will be for the Big 12 title. But if the Cyclones win, Oklahoma State clinches the title.
Iowa State got the Sooners' attention with the upset win over OSU last week.
“We won't take Iowa State lightly,” said safety Aaron Colvin: “We got a chance to watch them last Friday on TV. They played with so much emotion, so much fire. They were driven. We know we're going to have to come ready to play.”
OU'S ‘JUMBO' PACKAGE IS EFFECTIVE
The Sooners constantly are adjusting the Belldozer package, the wildcat formation directed by backup quarterback Blake Bell in short yardage and goal-line situations.
As the package has evolved, fullbacks Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski provide a jumbo-like wrinkle that's been effective.
“That's the whole goal to get big guys in there that can put hats on linebackers and D-Ends,” said center Ben Habern. “It's a great scheme. It works. Rip, a freshman, is doing a great job. Rip is big, strong and athletic. Trey is a special talent. To get both of those guys on the field at the same time is pretty special.”
KICKOFF RETURNS ARE IMPROVING
Sophomore wide receiver Trey Franks fumbled on a flipped-over tackle last week at Baylor but produced 173 all-purpose yards.
Franks has moved up to sixth in the Big 12 in kickoff returns, averaging 22.9 yards per return.
“Trey is doing great with it,” said OU coach Bob Stoops. “And the guys in front of him have gotten better creating some seams for him, too.”
JOHNSON ADAPTED QUICKLY TO NEW ROLE
Lane Johnson was a quarterback in junior college, a tight end when he arrived at Oklahoma, was moved to defensive end last year, then moved to offensive tackle last spring. Johnson not only has played, he's made nine consecutive starts at right tackle.
“Everything has gone so fast, it's hard to believe looking back to last spring,” Johnson said. “My technique has definitely improved. I try to watch other tackles. Iowa State's left tackle is supposed to be a first-round (NFL) draft pick. I try to watch tackles like that and learn as much as I can.”
RARE TWO-SACK GAME
The Sooners lead the nation in fewest sacks allowed (six) but Baylor sacked quarterback Landry Jones twice last week.
“Sacks happen. It's a part of the game,” Jones said. “You can't say enough about how the offensive line has been playing as far as protection. Other teams are going to make some plays every once in a while.”
Habern said one of the two sacks last week was a communications breakdown.
“They brought a max blitz,” Habern said. “We should have picked it up. We practiced it all week. It was a little different look than we saw on film. They did a great job executing the play. It was a slide throw. We didn't execute our job. The other one, they made a good play.”