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OU's freshmen are making an impact

By Jake Trotter, Staff Writer Modified: September 16, 2009 at 7:46 am •  Published: September 16, 2009
NORMAN — During its 64-0 rout of Idaho State, Oklahoma produced three highlights in the second half.

A Marcus Trice blocked punt.

A Ronnell Lewis safety.

A Jonathan Miller 36-yard touchdown scamper.

All plays made by true freshmen.

Two games into the season, OU has enjoyed quite the infusion of talented true freshmen into its offense, defense and special teams.

So far, true freshmen Trice, Lewis, Miller, guard Tyler Evans, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland, linebacker Jaydan Bird, cornerback Demontre Hurst and strong safety Javon Harris have all seen the field.

That doesn’t include linebacker Tom Wort, who was going to play before tearing an ACL, and wide receiver Jaz Reynolds, who could still avoid redshirt and play this week against Tulsa.

"We did anticipate playing a good number of them,” coach Bob Stoops said of his freshman class. "But we’re not going to play them if they’re not prepared for it and we don’t feel like they’re going to play at a level we expect.

"They’re responding really well.”

Stoops playing true freshmen is nothing new. In 2002, the Sooners used nine, including wide receiver Travis Wilson, lineman Davin Joseph and safety Brodney Pool.

"I have always believed if a guy is able to play as a freshman, even if it is in smaller amounts, he is more prepared to play next year when you need him to play more, or when you need him to start maybe,” Stoops said.

Yet in 2007, Stoops didn’t play one freshman. Last season, only six saw action.

But this year, eight — and counting depending on Reynolds — have earned their way onto the field. Part of that is due to OU’s depth issues at certain positions. But a lot has to do with how this freshman class performed during the preseason and through the first two weeks of the season.

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

TV: FSN (Cox 37)

Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7

→Join us at 11 a.m. today for a live chat with OU beat writer David Ubben. We’ll also be doing a chat on Friday at 11 a.m. with columnist Berry Tramel.

→Check out photo galleries from the Sooners’ first two games at


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