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October 30, 2012

Shinn at 3 p.m.: Sideline safety should be a top concern, Stoops says

NORMAN — Oklahoma cornerback Demontre Hurst's run-in with a television crane during the Notre Dame game was a scarry moment. It wasn't as bad as it looked. Hurst missed just one play before returning to the game.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops, however, said it was an incident that should never happen again.

"I said walking off the field to our trainer Scott Anderson, ‘We need to not complain, but everywhere, they need to have more padding, make sure a player can’t slide underneath one of those contraptions; they need to be safer on what they put on the field,'" Stoops said on Monday. "I don’t think there’s any question that could have been really bad if he slides underneath whatever that was, a crane, and rips his leg up. That should not happen to a young man playing ball. They need to be safer."

Those cranes have been used at major college football games for years. Saturday night, was the first time I can remember one coming into play.

However, the other issue is the lack of room on Owen Field's sidelines. It's 15 feet at most between the out of bounds' lines and the first row of seats. The only other stadium in the Big 12 that might have less room is Oklahoma State's Boone Pickens Stadium.

Nonetheless, the question Stoops raised about safety is genuine. It was the second time in two seasons something that was part of the television broadcast came very close to seriously injuring a player.

In last season's Insight Bowl, a wire holding a camera above the field snapped. The camera nearly landed on Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt.

"If that thing hits him square, or hits an official, it’s over," Stoops said. "Hopefully they’re really investing in the safety of equipment that’s on the field."

 

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