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OU notebook: Coaches say Halzle's showing maturity; Four OU recruits on ESPN top 150

Modified: August 7, 2008 at 1:00 am •  Published: August 7, 2008
Holmes shuffles back to old cornerback spot
Lendy Holmes will be playing his old position again.

At least for now.

Holmes, who spent all of last season and this past spring at free safety, is back working at the field cornerback spot in practice.

That was the position Holmes started at during the 2006 season, when he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors.

Junior Brian Jackson is currently starting at the other cornerback spot, with sophomore Jonathan Nelson backing him up.

Sophomore Dominique Franks, who had three picks in the Red-White spring game, is playing behind Holmes.

That means Nic Harris is moving from strong safety to free safety, and redshirt freshman Sam Proctor, who had a terrific spring, is in the starting lineup at the moment at strong safety.

Sophomore Quinton Carter and junior-college transfer David Sims, who's yet to arrive on campus because of an ongoing academic snag at Butte (Calif.) Community College, are the backup safeties, with Holmes being available to play safety, too, if needed.

"We're trying to figure out who our four best guys are,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Wednesday during OU Media Day.

Venables noted that maintaining the current defensive backfield rotation hinges largely on the development of starting strong-side linebacker Keenan Clayton, a converted safety who showed promise in the spring.

If Clayton struggles or is injured, Venables said his next best option at the moment is moving Harris to strong-side linebacker, which would force OU to also rotate Holmes back to safety.

•English doing well: Despite undergoing an appendectomy a couple of weeks ago, defensive end and Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Auston English attended media day and appeared to be moving around well.

"I feel real well,” said English, who's being held out of practice for now. "It'll still be a few days before getting back into the swing of things. It's one of those deals where they want to make sure everything clears right, that I don't get any abscesses or get anything infected.”

English said he'd definitely be back in plenty of time before the Sept. 30 opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Last season, English led the Big 12 with 9.5 sacks despite missing three games with a hairline fracture in his ankle.

•Backup plan: A year ago, OU's quarterback situation was still fluid, with Sam Bradford, Joey Halzle and Keith Nichol all battling for the No.

Continue reading this story on the...

Auston English, right, signs a poster for David Haywood, 12, on Wednesday. English underwent an appendectomy a couple of weeks ago. by STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN


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