OU football notebook: Sooners have version of 12th man

by Michael Baldwin Modified: August 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm •  Published: August 19, 2011

When defensive players break the huddle, instead of saying "Sooners" this season, they're going with “12” to honor linebacker Austin Box, who died in May.

“Austin is still a big part of us,” said defensive tackle Jarmarkus McFarland. “It's a coincidence his number was 12 because I feel there are 11 guys on that field and he's still with us, the 12th man. Besides (the Texas) A&M (slogan), I feel a 12th man is out there watching over us, motivating us.”


Since the overriding consensus is that OU's defensive line is the weakest link on a team ranked No. 1 in preseason, defensive tackle Stacy Walker was asked if the D-line will play with a chip on its shoulder.

“It's a lot bigger than a chip. It's like a boulder,” Walker said. “We've got to prove a lot of people wrong. Even ourselves. It's more stepping outside of the box, showing everybody what we're capable of doing and what we're going to do.”


Being more physical, especially in short yardage and goal-line situations, was an area of emphasis during two-a-days, which ended on Friday.

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by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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