Iowa transfer Wegher leaves SoonersRunning back Brandon Wegher, who transferred from Iowa to OU in the offseason, is no longer with the team, coach Bob Stoops said following Wednesday’s practice. “Yeah, he’s not with us anymore,” Stoops said. “That didn’t last real long.” Wegher, who rushed for an Iowa freshman record eight touchdowns in 2009, left the Hawkeyes for “personal reasons” and later announced he would transfer. He enrolled at OU as a walk-on but was going to have to sit out the upcoming season due to transfer rules. “We’ve got a few backs as it is,” Stoops said, “so we’ll be OK.”
TAKING IT EASY WITH BOXThe Sooners plan to be cautious this spring with starting middle linebacker Austin Box, whose career was nearly ended last year by a preseason back injury, which forced him to miss the first five games. Box has been sitting out OU’s spring practices thus far. “Austin has played a lot of football,” Stoops said .”I don’t need to see him a whole lot in the spring. We’re not going to be overzealous and risk losing him in the spring.”
MILLER FEELING GOODRoy Finch, Brennan Clay and now freshman Brandon Williams have Sooner fans elated about their future backfield. But don’t discount sophomore running back Jonathon Miller, who is finally healthy after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee two seasons ago. “I feel real good,” Miller said. “Best I’ve felt since the injury.” Miller averaged 7.2 yards on 18 carries as a true freshman before going down with the injury midway through the season. Miller tried to come back last season, but the knee was still bothering him. “It was hurting me through two-a-days,” he said. “So I decided to take the redshirt year and get it right.” At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Miller is OU’s biggest back and could be a valuable foil to scatbacks Finch and Clay. “That’s the good thing about our backfield,” Miller said. “We got guys who are quick twitch and guys that can run you over.”
OSU GETS COMMITMENT FROM TEXAS LINEBACKERWhen Oklahoma State evaluates defensive players, versatility is a high priority. The Cowboys added another versatile defender when North Richland Hills (Texas) linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga committed to OSU on Tuesday, according to multiple Internet reports. Tshimanga picked the Pokes over Texas A&M, Michigan, Arkansas, Texas Tech and others. The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder had OSU and Texas A&M as his favorites and picked the Pokes when Texas A&M filled its current class. “(Texas A&M) told me they had what they needed,” Tshimanga told GoPokes.com. “Oklahoma State was my second choice, and I know I can call it home.” The versatile Tshimanga could play several different positions at OSU. “They want me at the Leo position,” Tshimanga told OStateIllustrated.com. “I just want to play, and they see me playing early, so I’m good with that.” The Leo position is a defensive end/linebacker hybrid position, which was manned by Ugo Chinasa in 2010. Tshimanga will join high school teammate Nico Ornealas, a February signee, in Stillwater. He is the fourth commitment for the Cowboys’ Class of 2012.
Monken impressed by playmakersOklahoma State completed its fifth spring on Wednesday, practicing on the grass fields beside Gallagher-Iba Arena for the first time this spring. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken has been impressed by the returning core playmakers on the Cowboy offense, including All-Big 12 quarterback Brandon Weeden, Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon, receiver Josh Cooper and running back Joseph Randle. “The guys that have been here and played last year are moving around and playing fast,” Monken said in a release. “But some of the younger guys have a way to go.” Monken singled out receivers Tracy Moore, Michael Harrison, Justin Horton and Wilson Youman as players who have made a good early impression during spring drills. “They’ve done well with what we’ve asked them to do,” Monken said. “They’ve been somewhat of a pleasant surprise for me.”
Tuberville denies he’s miserableAfter the sports blog SportsbyBrooks.com had some unflattering things to say about him, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville was forced to reiterate that he’s happy in Lubbock. A post on the blog’s Facebook page said Tuberville “is absolutely miserable at Texas Tech,” and that he wishes he had gone to South Florida instead. After practice on Wednesday, Tuberville denied those claims. “This is a great place,” Tuberville said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We’re going to build something here that people here can be proud of. That’s coming from a lot of people that probably hope we would pack up and leave. But we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a tough challenge the next couple of years getting it where we want to get it to but I would imagine that’s coming from across the river somewhere. They would hope I go somewhere else.”
Texas’ Whaley gets shot at defensive endChris Whaley, the ballyhooed 2009 running back prospect who has struggled to find a position at Texas, will spend the rest of spring getting a tryout on the other side of the ball, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Coach Mack Brown said Wednesday that the 250-pound Whaley, who spent the first half of spring at H-back in co-coordinator Bryan Harsin’s new offense, will work at defensive end for the remaining practices. “Y’all get excited about change, so that gives you something to do,” Brown told the media.
Irby sore, being handled carefullyTexas tight end Blaine Irby, attempting to come back from a devastating knee injury that has sidelined him since early in the 2008 season, has been experiencing some soreness, Brown said, and is being brought along carefully. According to the American-Statesman, Brown said Irby has been withheld from live drills. “There’s a transition with him, so I don’t know if he’ll be in the (April 3) spring game or not,” Brown said. “He’s just working through. I think it’s a miracle that he’s out here and trying, and we’re proud of him.”
BrieflyDefending national champion Auburn opened spring practice Wednesday with largely untested junior Barrett Trotter and totally untested sophomore Clint Moseley vying to replace Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at quarterback. ... Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said wide receiver Marvin McNutt will miss spring practice because of a shoulder injury. Ferentz says he expects McNutt, a senior from St. Louis, to be back to full speed by June. By Jake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Wire Reports
Iowa transfer Wegher leaves Sooners