Who made that tackle? Duplicate numbers become the norm in college football

BY JAKE TROTTER Staff Writer jtrotter@opubco.com Published: February 19, 2011

Wondering why for a second you thought Landry Jones was covering a kickoff? Brandon Weeden was tackling a receiver? Or Mossis Madu was kicking an extra point?

Blame it on duplicate numbers.

Last week, Oklahoma unveiled an updated roster, which featured 19 duplicate numbers. That total figures to increase after the rest of the incoming freshman class gets their numbers when they get on campus after the spring.

OU is hardly alone in this trend of college football. Duplicate numbers have become the norm.

It's been fashionable at Oklahoma State since quarterback Tony Lindsay and safety Trent Alexander both wore No. 10 in 1997. In 2004, for the first time the Sooners had two All-Americans (Adrian Peterson and Antonio Perkins) wearing the same number, 28.

And if you think that's wild, LSU's 105-man roster last fall included a pair of triplicate numbers, three players each wearing Nos. 38 and 46.

The rules say duplicates are allowed as long as they aren't on the field at the same time. But they cause confusion in the stands, on television and in the official and unofficial play-by-plays.

Ever try to follow a game on ESPN GameTracker? Then you know things aren't always what they seem.

No wonder that to this day Jimmy Stevens (Madu) is still credited on the ESPN.com play-by-play with a 7-yard rush in the 2007 opener against North Texas. Never mind Stevens redshirted that season.

At least one time on the road last year a PA announced kicker Bryce Easley had made the tackle, when it obviously was the other 94, defensive end Pryce Macon.

At Utah, this has become such a nuisance the Utes began restricting duplicate numbers as much as possible.

“We have far less than we used to,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said last fall. “We try to avoid duplicate numbers as much as possible. It can create headaches if you have too many people with the same numbers so we try to keep that at a minimum."

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The current duplicate numbers for OU football in 2011:

2: WR Trey Franks and DB Julian Wilson

6: QB Ben Sherrard and DB Demontre Hurst

7: QB Cayden Cochran and LB Corey Nelson

9: WR Ryan Caro and DB Gabe Lynn

10: QB Blake Bell and LB Rashod Favors

11: QB Kendal Thompson and DB Kevin Bell

12: QB Landry Jones and LB Austin Box

15: QB Drew Allen and DB Lamar Harris

19: WR Justin McCay and DB Jesse Bell

21: RB Brennan Clay and LB Tom Wort

28: RB Brandon Wegher and LB Travis Lewis

31: RB Dominique Whaley and LB Daniel Franklin

32: FB Marshall Musil and DB Jamell Fleming

36: FB David Welchert and P Tress Way

43: K Patrick O'Hara and DB John Sosanya

47: TE Trent Ratterree and DB Zach Montana

77: OL Stephen Good and DT Marquis Anderson

81: TE Jarrett Brown and WR Nyko Symonds

85: WR Ryan Broyles and DE Geneo Grissom

94: K Bryce Easley and DT Torrea Peterson

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