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OU football notes: Safety Tony Jefferson surging; Cornerback competition continues

By Jake Trotter and Mike Baldwin, Staff Writers Modified: August 8, 2010 at 11:25 am •  Published: August 7, 2010

Safety Tony Jefferson surging

Wide receiver Kenny Stills isn't the only freshman making a push for significant playing time.

So is safety Tony Jefferson, a fellow Californian.

"If we started today we would play Tony Jefferson as our starting nickel back," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Like Stills, Jefferson enrolled early to participate in spring ball and made an instant impression with his unique blend of speed and power.

"That's got to be a guy who has a little bit different skill set in regards to some coverage ability as well as blitzing ability, playmaking, playing in the box at times," said Venables, referring to the position Keenan Clayton played the last two seasons.

Jefferson will vie for playing there with sophomore Joe Ibiloye.

Cornerback competition continues

One of the big challenges for Venables will be replacing cornerbacks Dom Franks and Brian Jackson.

But so far, Venables likes what he has seen from their apparent replacements, junior Jamell Fleming and sophomore Demontre Hurst.

Fleming, a special teams star the last two years, has been capitalizing off finally getting an opportunity in the defensive lineup.

"Jamell Fleming is probably as talented as anyone we have on the defensive side of the ball," Venables said. "With his ability to run, jump and change direction, he's a very explosive athlete. He's been in the program and for us we felt he played really well in the spring, made consistent improvement and looked good yesterday. He plays with confidence, he's very sure of himself on the field because he's been here now and this is his fourth year."

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