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OU football notebook: Sooners secondary quiets critics

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: September 12, 2010 at 7:19 am •  Published: September 11, 2010

"I remember that play well," Venables said. "That series was when we started getting comfortable, in a groove, playing well together."


Freshman running back Brennan Clay was carted off early in the fourth quarter. Clay caught a swing pass and was literally knocked out by Florida State safety Nick Moody. Medical officials removed Clay's facemask, strapped him to a board and transported him to the hospital.

"Everything so far has checked out well," coach Bob Stoops said after the game. "When he left the field he was responsive... He was moving everything... When he left in the ambulance for further tests he had a big smile on his face and he was talking. They just want to make sure they're not missing anything."


With the Sooners leading 44-10 with less than 12 minutes to play, OU's first-team offense, including quarterback Landry Jones and Murray took the field. "That doesn't make any sense," said ABC analyst Matt Millen.

After Clay was carted off five plays later, backup quarterback Drew Allen and Jermie Calhoun replaced Jones and Murray.


Sooner fans understandably became agitated in the waning minutes by Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. Trailing 47-10 with 2:20 remaining, Fisher asked for a replay after OU recovered a fumble. Replays confirmed the original ruling. Fisher then called timeout with 53 seconds left to force a punt, drawing a chorus of boos.

With second-team players on the field, the Seminoles scored on the final play of the game, a 47-yard pass to which Fisher said: "That's something we can build on, what we did at the end. I was proud our guys didn't quit. That's what we want no matter what the score is."


Seminole fans were boisterous with their legendary tomahawk chop during pre-game and following the first-quarter touchdown drive. But later in the game, OU fans mocked Florida State, Sooner fans chanting, "Whoa, oh, oh, oh," with the right-arm chopping motion following OU touchdowns.


Murray became only the second player in school history to reach 1,000 yards in receptions, rushing and kick returns, joining Buster Rhymes... Former OU All-American Blake Griffin, the first pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, attended Saturday's game and was introduced late in the first quarter... Tress Way punted only three times after punting eight times against Utah State... James Hanna's 46-yard touchdown catch was the first TD reception by an OU tight end since Jermaine Gresham's touchdown against Florida in the 2008 national title game... Twelve true freshmen played against Florida State, including cornerback Aaron Colvin playing the final two series.


Alex Prosperi, media relations director for the EA Sports Maui Invitational, attended Sooner Fan Fest Saturday to present OU men's basketball coach Jeff Capel with a hand-crafted, eight-foot surfboard and OU men's basketball players with leis and grass skirts.

"I don't think anyone on this team has ever even tried to get on a surf board," said senior Cade Davis. "But this was great, a chance to sign autographs for fans and show our appreciation."

The Sooners open the Maui tournament Nov. 22 against Kentucky. Other teams in the tournament include: Connecticut, Michigan State, Virginia, Washington, Wichita State and host Chaminade.

"It's an honor to play in Maui," Capel said. "It's one of the most prestigious preseason tournaments there is. This year it's a great field. For them to come all the way to Norman means a lot to us."


Former OU quarterback Paul Thompson, who runs a marketing business in Tulsa, signed autographs Saturday during Fan Fest. Thompson knows all about the pressure Jones faces as the starting quarterback.

"That's part of the job," Thompson said. "You take the good with the bad. (Jones) has been all right. People are quick to criticize. It was the first game. Sometimes it takes the offense a little bit longer to get in sync."


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