OU football: Sooner coaches trying to replace missing players

Bob Stoops wants to focus on players at practice, the youngsters who will fill holes that have opened due to injury or transfer.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: December 26, 2011

TEMPE, Ariz. — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is insistent on not addressing some of the team's transfers until January.

But some of the defections became obvious Monday when the team's first Insight Bowl practice was briefly opened to media members.

Receivers Justin McCay and Sheldon McClain weren't with the team. In fact, just as practice was beginning, McCay tweeted about going ice skating. McClain talked about a mall.

Still, despite the visual evidence, Stoops had no interest in detailing their statuses.

“Let's talk about who's here,” he said after practice. “You guys can (talk about who is not). You like to talk about who isn't here. I like to talk about who's here.

“You can talk about it all you want. I'm not going to.”

Another of the outgoing players, Torrea Peterson, was dropped from the two-deep. Freshman Marquis Anderson is now listed as a backup at defensive tackle. Defensive back James Haynes was also not at practice.

“Sometimes the best thing for a kid is to move on and go someplace else and start fresh and for them to be happy,” co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “Everybody can't play, but that's basically the truth. We need good players.”

The starters for Friday's game against Iowa, according to the depth chart OU released Monday, are a freshman and two sophomores.

Kameel Jackson, the freshman, and Trey Franks are there due to the injuries to Ryan Broyles (knee) and Jaz Reynolds (kidney). Kenny Stills is now the No. 1 target. Senior Dejuan Miller and deep snapper James Winchester are the backups.

With the losses, defensive back Joe Powell has been moved back to receiver. Norvell said he's quickly shaken off any rust.

“My (meeting) room is not as quiet as it used to be,” Norvell joked about the outspoken Powell. “Joe is back and it's like riding a bike and he's jumped right in.

“He's a great kid and a tough competitor, and it's good to have him back. He'll help us and he'll be ready to play, and we won't be afraid to stick him in there if we need to.”

Kendal Thompson, who has been the scout team quarterback most of the season, was at receiver Monday, too. But both Stoops and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said he's not a candidate to play there. Heupel said he was running there due to an injury preventing him from throwing.

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