Two-a-days ended Friday. Classes begin Monday. The Sooners still have some unanswered questions two weeks before they open the season Sept. 3 against Tulsa.
1. How long will Lewis will be sidelined?
Officials announced weakside linebacker Travis Lewis, the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, could be sidelined eight weeks after OU's leading tackler the past three seasons suffered a broken toe during the Oklahoma drill four days into fall camp.
Lewis said on Facebook he expects to return for Florida State (Sept. 17). An intense competitor, Lewis will politick to return early. If he is sidelined eight weeks, Lewis would return for Texas but miss four games (Tulsa, Florida State, Missouri and Ball State).
2. Will the “Hammer” be eligible this season?
It's been two weeks since summer classes ended, and it's still uncertain whether Ronnell Lewis will be eligible. Lewis was moved from linebacker to defensive end during two-a-days last season. He started the final four games, collecting a career-high eight tackles in a win at Oklahoma State.
Some OU officials are optimistic Lewis will be eligible. But the fact it's taken this long means it's not a slam dunk. If Lewis is ineligible, David King moves into the starting lineup, backed up by Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue.
3. Starters still undecided at two positions:
Competition at boundary cornerback and the two offensive tackle positions will continue this week.
Jamell Fleming was second in the nation in passes defended last year but left school to address academic issues. While Fleming was gone, Gabe Lynn stepped up. Donald Stephenson is the returning starter at left tackle. Redshirt freshman Daryl Williams is penciled in at right tackle. Lane Johnson, though, has made a strong case during two-a-days.
Regardless of who wins the starting jobs, coaches are encouraged they have three quality cornerbacks and three quality offensive tackles.
4. How much will Sooners use the Okie 50 defense?
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables installed the “50” defense the week of Bedlam to great success. In the “50,” the Sooners lined up one defensive tackle, two defensive ends and essentially lined up Jeremy Beal and Tony Jefferson as stand-up linebackers that could drop into coverage.
The Sooners have worked on both defenses during two-a-days. The “50” can be effective against spread offenses. OU's base “4-3” defense, though, is the better option against power, run-oriented teams. The Sooners will use the “50” this season. But how much?
5. Backup quarterback race. Is it Allen or Bell?
If Landry Jones suffers a long-term injury, the Sooners will be forced to go with an inexperienced backup. Coaches, though, like the progress made by sophomore Drew Allen and redshirt freshman Blake Bell.
Allen enters his third year in the system and was Jones' backup last season. Bell, though, was a highly touted recruit out of Wichita, Kan. Bell flashed potential in the spring, and coaches say he's taken his game to a new level this fall. The tiebreaker could be which quarterback the coaches feel can best minimize turnovers.