OU football notebook: Teams limiting Jalen Saunders' punt returns

Oklahoma's senior wide receiver ha demonstrated impressive ability on punt returns, including an 81-yard touchdown in last year's Bedlam win.
by Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey Published: October 17, 2013

Oklahoma senior wide receiver Jalen Saunders has demonstrated impressive ability on punt returns, including an 81-yard touchdown in last year's Bedlam win.

So far this year, teams have punted to the Sooners 40 times, but Saunders has only managed 10 returns. He's averaging more than 10 yards per return, but has had to call for fair catches on most of his opportunities.

“Some people sacrifice a little distance for a little more hang time and don't allow you to return it,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.

“The ones he's had chances with he's done pretty well.”

Asked if there's anything schematically OU can do to combat those opponents' strategies, Stoops said: “No. Unless I can get in their meetings and ask them to kick it low and far.”


Stoops said he's an “equal opportunist,” and has no problem with Condoleezza Rice's appointment to the new College Football Playoff selection committee.

“Hey, look, listen … she's obviously a very experienced individual in all ways,” Stoops said of the former secretary of state. “I'm not going to sit here and oppose anybody.”

In the past, Stoops has criticized the idea of a playoff committee, saying that there's no way to separate individuals from their allegiances and biases. Rice is currently a professor at Stanford.

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by Ryan Aber
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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