By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who hadn’t spoken to reporters in a week, believes middle linebacker Frank Shannon will play against Baylor Thursday night.
“Frank’s been practicing and improving daily, so we’ll just have to see where he is by Thursday,” he said.
If he cannot go freshman Jordan Evans will play the spot. No matter who is in there Thursday, the Sooners linebacker must play well. The Bears’ offense is geared to spreading the field and forcing you to stop the run with the defensive line and linebackers.
“They’re a huge part of this game, being able to hopefully play their run game and control it and limit it. Linebackers and safeties on top of the guys up front,” Stoops said. “They’ve got to do a good job of reading plays out and being where you’re supposed to be, be physical tackling, don’t miss tackles.”
No secrets: Don’t expect any major defensive wrinkles from the Sooners Thursday night. Schemes won’t be the determining factor in the game.
“First players. Players making plays. They do it,” Stoops said when asked what causes a defense to elevate its play. “There’s only so many ways in how you can align them or put them.
In the end, you can be in great position and you don’t make ‘em. They outfight you for the ball or outrun you even though you are right with them. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what your schemes are. You still have to give them a chance with how you deploy them and what you are asking them to do is definitely always a part of it, too.”
Where do they rank?: Baylor is on pace to surpass OU’s 2008 team as the highest scoring team in college football history.
Stoops said the Bears are very comparable to what the Sooners were doing five years ago.
“Not only with their up-pace tempo, but just the skill,” Stoops said. “They space you out so far and they’ve got excellent speed all over the perimeter, but then they’ve got such a big offensive line with a great running back to run the football. So they do a great job in how they space you out, run the ball and then get the big plays.”
Hunnicutt makes Groza cut: Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt was named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee.
Hunnicutt has connected on 16 of 18 field goal attempts this season, giving him an 88.9 make percentage, the nation’s third-highest mark (minimum 15 attempts). Only three kickers from FBS schools have made more field goals than Hunnicutt, who has also connected on 26 of 27 PATs.
A midseason All-America pick by Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com, Hunnicutt holds OU’s career record with 54 career made field goals. He currently ranks 10th on the Sooners’ career scoring chart with 300 points, 54 of 63 field goals and 138 of 141 PATs in his career.
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