True freshman Dominique Alexander and sophomore P.L. Lindley have each taken on greater roles since Nelson's injury. Lindley was recruited as a linebacker, but switched to defensive end early in his career.
After Nelson's injury, OU coaches moved him back to linebacker. He made two tackles and recovered a fumble in the Sooners' loss to Texas two weeks ago, then made his first career start last weekend at Kansas.
“Just overall — the problem we've been having as a team — just knowing my assignments better, reading formations, knowing what they're coming out in and knowing how to line up to them and play each fit differently,” Lindley responded when asked what he felt he needed to improve on personally.
Bob Stoops refused to blame the run defense's struggles on Nelson's absence.
“I don't want to say because it's an excuse and at the end of the day, he's not there and he's not going to be,” Bob Stoops said. “The other guys have to be able to do it.
“But I don't believe it's just them. It's stuff we should have been able to line up to because we anticipated it, worked it, we walked through on Friday and then we don't handle it.”