OU football team still struggling with death of teammate Austin Box

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: July 26, 2011

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is facing a difficult decision.

Jones wears the same number that middle linebacker Austin Box wore.

Does Jones stop wearing No. 12 as a tribute to Box, who died tragically in May? Or does Jones wear the number in his memory?

"I'm trying to still figure that out," Jones said on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. "I need to talk to his parents and see how they feel about it. It's really whatever they want me to do. If they don't care I'll probably keep 12."

Box's death was an emotional ordeal coach Bob Stoops said players and his coaching staff will constantly work through, something that never completely heals.

"There are no words that truly describe how you hurt and how the players hurt," Stoops said. "Austin was a great, great spirit in the locker room. He was a friend to everybody, one of those special characters, a young person everybody loved to see. You miss that. We're still working through it."

It was emotional for the entire team, especially teammates like fellow linebacker Travis Lewis and defensive coordinator Brent Venables, the linebackers coach.

"We've talked about a few different things (as a tribute) but it's not going to be anything dramatic like put tattoos on our back," Lewis said. "We're going to do it in the right way."

Lewis was in Norman when he received the shocking news in a text message.

"He was one of my best friends," Lewis said. "I'm still dealing with it. It's not easy to talk about. I stopped asking why. I'm still learning from him. He's still motivating me."

Jones said several players remember Box before workouts.

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