By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma safety Gabe Lynn was named the Big 12 Conference defensive player of the week Monday morning.
Lynn had three tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception in Oklahoma’s 16-7 win over West Virginia. He returned his first career interception six yards and his second career fumble recovery 27 yards.
“It wasn’t even me, it was the defense,” Lynn said Monday. “It was a good defensive play, so I’m just excited about where we can go and what future we’ve got.”
Lynn’s recognition marked the first Big 12 award for a player this season for senior, who moved to free safety this season.
“Gabe is really comfortable in that safety spot. He’s doing everything well to be honest, on top of being a leader. It’s exciting,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Gabe’s a strong hitter, definitely. I love the way he’s reading the quarterback and jumping the ball and making the interception he did, he’s doing a lot of good things like that.”
The OU defense has allowed seven total points in its first two games and are currently 20th in the country in total defense and tied for fourth in scoring defense.
Injury update: OU had two players leave the West Virginia game with injuries. Offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson limped off the field late in the game with an ankle injury and cornerback Aaron Colvin left the game in the third quarter after being kicked in the jaw.
Thompson returned to practice Monday. Colvin visited the dentist earlier in the day, but did not practice Monday.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops decline to discuss the extent of Colvin’s injury, “but we’re confident he will be ready,” he said.
Almost there: Despite the struggles throwing the ball, OU is averaging 431 yards a game of offense. That’s thanks to OU averaging 310.5 a game running the ball.
Running back Brennan Clay believes OU’s still leaving yards on the table in the running game.
“It’s just a few tweaks, man. We’re so close on so many plays,” Clay said. “If you go back and watch film, we could have busted that game wide open.
“Even the game against Louisiana-Monroe. Those games, it’s just one or two things on certain plays that, if we made our block or made our read, it’s going to break the will of the defense. That’s going to open the game up so much more. So we’re just going back to the drawing board, going back to practice and we’re going to prepare.”
Happy birthday: Monday was OU coach Bob Stoops’ 53rd birthday. Although the Sooner coach didn’t seem that excited about it.
“Beats the alternative, right?” he joked.
Stoops said he had no party plans for later in the day.
“Meetings and practice,” he said. “It’ll be a typical Monday for me.”
Big leg: Through two games, OU kicker Nick Hodgson has put nine of his 12 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. That’s what special teams coach Jay Boulware was hoping for when he first saw the junior walk-on from Richland Hills, Texas, kick.
“I did see that he had a strong leg. From that point on, I told him, Look, you focus on kickoff coverage,” Boulware said. “Don’t worry about field goals, don’t worry about anything else. You worry about kicking the ball off and just kick it as far as you can. We’ll cover it, you just unload. Tee it high and let it fly.”
OU still uses Michael Hunnicutt for field goals. Boulware said that will often be the plan with kickers. He wants them to focus on one thing until they do it well.
“He (Hodgson) just wasn’t very consistent in the spring when we got here. And then the kid put in all the work this summer to get better,” Boulware said. “We can’t meet with him or do anything with him. He knew what our goal was and he went out there and got it done this summer. I was very pleased.”
Follow me @john_shinn