The Norman Transcript

October 3, 2012

More than football

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma long snapper Austin Woods didn’t go through a full practice on Tuesday, but he still had a huge smile on his face. The junior went through his final scheduled chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Monday.

“I’m really thankful that I got through it and I made it through,” Woods said. “I didn’t have too many setbacks along the way and I’m really glad to be done with it.”

Woods has typically been held out of practice the day of his chemotherapy and the day after to give his body time to recover. He’s been the snapper on OU’s field goals in all three games. But he hopes the days of having to miss practice are over.

“I’ll get another scan in three weeks and then they (Woods’ doctors) will be able to tell me if I’m in remission or not,” Woods said. “All my scans previous to this have come back excellent. It looks good right now.”

Ball security: After giving up three turnovers in the loss to Kansas State, ball security has been emphasized in the Sooners’ six practices since.

“We’ve been going through the shoot bag and every time we catch a ball we have people trying to rip it out at all times. The scout team is trying to rip the ball out,” freshman receiver Sterling Shepard said. “We’ve been doing little things like that.”

The Sooners are 107th in the country in turnover margin averaging negative 1.33 per game. Texas Tech, which OU faces on Saturday, is even on the season with six turnovers and six takeaways.

Bigger workload: OU coach Bob Stoops said Monday that junior running back Damien Williams was going to get more carries against the Red Raiders. Williams, who is the Sooners’ leading rusher with 293 yards on 30 carries this season, getting exactly 10 in each game.

“We’ve talked, and it was obvious, we’ve brought up that we want to get Damien more carries and more opportunities,” Stoops said.

On Tuesday, Williams said no coaches had told him his workload was going to increase, but he was ready for it.

“I feel like I’m ready. I don’t think he would say that if he didn’t think I was ready,” he said.

Thin red line: Freshman receiver Trey Metoyer has had a problem with running out of bounds on deep routes. Receivers coach Jay Norvell said there were actually red lines painted on OU’s practice field over the last two weeks to remind Metoyer of how close he is the out-of-bounds line.

“He’s young, he’s excited and he wants to make plays,” Norvell said. “He just has to have better awareness of where he’s at on the field.”

Metoyer has 10 catches for 90 yards this season.

Panic expected: OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel wasn’t surprised by the delirium caused by OU’s loss to Kansas State or the reaction to quarterback Landry Jones’ slow start.

“This is Oklahoma. People are going to freak out any time you lose,” he said. “That’s why you want to play at a place like this. That’s why you want to coach at a place like this. The fans care about it and they’re passionate about it. Their expectations are up. Trust me, nobody’s expectations are higher for our performance on the field than the guys in this room every single day.”

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