The Norman Transcript

November 13, 2012

Line getting healthy

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — One aspect of Oklahoma’s victory over Baylor that shouldn’t be overlooked was that it came with a patched together offensive line. Center Gabe Ikard missed the game with a concussion and tackle Lane Johnson didn’t start due to an ankle injury.

OU coach Bob Stoops said at his press conference on Monday that the line should be healthier when it faces West Virginia on Saturday.

“It’s better,” Stoops said. “I believe, I’m expecting to have Gabe Ikard back. He was very close Thursday but didn’t feel that they were ready to clear him. Lane Johnson was better, finished the game. Actually, Lane had a nice game when he was in there. Limited snaps, but did well. He’ll be improved.”

Guard Bronson Irwin played the entire game, but has been fighting an ankle injury since mid October. Guard Adam Shead limped off the field after Blake Bell’s touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Stoops said Shead will be held out of practice on Monday and Tuesday, but expects him to play against the Mountaineers.

“I think we’ll have all those guys ready to go,” he said.

Turnover issues: The Sooners have only come up with one turnover in the last three games. There was frustration from the Baylor game because OU couldn’t come up with an interception when the Bears threw the 33 times.

“It’s just about making plays,” safety Javon Harris said. “A lot of balls are being thrown; the past few weeks, really wide outside. Really going at the corners and trying to get deep balls. Really trying to stay away from the middle, from what I’ve noticed. They can’t stay away from us too long, so hopefully we get some more chances to get turnovers.”

OU has nine interceptions this season. The Tony Jefferson pick against Iowa State came near the sideline. The rest have been in the middle of the field.

Third-down defense: Baylor converted 11 of 20 third downs against OU. The ability to get offenses off the field has been a growing problem this season. The Sooners’ third-down defense percentage of 41.5 (61 of 147) is 74th in the country.

Defensive end R.J. Washington believes the issue has been quarterbacks having too much time to throw.

“We need to get more pressure on the quarterback and get more batted balls and we need more sacks. A lot of that falls on the d-line,” Washington said. “It’s our responsibility and our job to help the secondary. They can’t cover for days.”

Keeping warm: As of Monday, the weather forecast for the West Virginia game doesn’t seem too bad. The high temperature on Saturday is expected to be in the mid-50s.

If it is going to get cold, defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp has come up with an interesting way to stay warm.

“Coach Shipp has this method of Vasoline,” tackle Casey Walker said. “If you put it on real thick it clogs up the pores. You start sweating it helps the heat stay inside. We’re gonna see how it works.”

Bedlam set for 2:30 p.m. kick: The Big 12 Conference announced on Monday that Bedlam game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. from Owen Field on Nov. 24.

Details on the broadcasting network will be announced at a later date. The 106th meeting between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

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