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OU football notebook: Sooners have version of 12th man

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: August 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm •  Published: August 19, 2011
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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.”

D-LINE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE

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.”

OFFENSIVE LINE WORKS ON GOAL LINE

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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