NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops announced following Tuesday’s practice that the Sooners had suffered their first serious injury of the spring.
Tight end/offensive tackle Eric Mensik will miss the rest of the practices due to a knee injury.
Stoops said the injury was in the junior’s medial collateral ligament, but it would not require surgery.
“It’s one (injury) that’s non-operative and heals in about six to eight weeks,” Stoops said. “He’ll concentrate on lifting and getting stronger in his upper body while that heals. It could have been a lot worse and it’s something that usually heals really well.”
Mensik was a tight end for the first three years of his career. Last season was his most productive, notching two catches for 14 yards and starting three of 13 games.
Because of two injuries, he was shifted to right tackle for the final two games last season and was expected to play full time this season.
He entered spring practice competing for the starting job with Cory Brandon at right tackle.
“Eric was doing really well,” Stoops said.
Assuming Mensik makes a full recovery from the injury that should remain the case. In the meantime, Stoops said the offensive line has performed well throughout spring practice.
“I’ve been pleased with the whole offensive line and how they’re working, competing and playing,” he said.
Coaches keep coming
Since spring practice began, a number of current and former college coaches have been in Norman to watch a couple Sooner practices.
Boise State coach Chris Peterson was a visitor two weeks ago. Former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt, who was an assistant coach at Kansas State with Stoops (he had Sooner defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ position), was in town for the Sooners’ practices last week.
Stoops said there weren’t any college coaches visiting Tuesday’s practice, but said former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was coming to town later this week.
“You guys will have fun with that,” Stoops joked to reporters.
When center Ben Habern suffered a broken leg late last season and had to undergo surgery, the assumption was he would miss all of spring practice. In fact, he was thinking he wouldn’t be able to do much at all until June.
“When I had the injury and after surgery, they said it would be a six month deal. They told me I would be ready right when summer workouts started,” he said Tuesday. “I was disappointed because I knew I would go into summer workouts out of shape and that would be tough.”
At least Habern won’t have to worry about being out of shape for summer workouts. He’s been going through most of practice the last two weeks.
Habern said his quicker-than-expected recovery caught OU’s medical staff off guard. He was initially cleared to participate in some drills. Now he can fully participate in practice.
He still wouldn’t say he’s fully recovered.
“I can still tweak it every now and then and there’s still some pain on the inside of the ankle,” he said. “Once I’m in there and running around, I don’t feel it. When I feel it is usually the next day. It’s something I have to keep dealing with and get in a get treatment for.”
Rest for Murray
Running back DeMarco Murray was held out of contact in Tuesday’s practice. Stoops said Murray was healthy.
“We’re just resting him,” Stoops said. “He’s fine.”
Jones on the move
Quarterback Landry Jones has looked noticeably leaner since practice began. Jones said that’s part of concerted effort to make him quicker and less of stationary target.
“I’m trying to get my body fat down so I can become more mobile in the pocket and be able to move around,” he said. “I want to be able to move around in the pocket and be able to give the offensive line some help. They’re doing a good job, but if I can move around a little, I’ll be able to extend some of the plays.”
John Shinn 366-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org