By John Shinn
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops would not shed any definitive light on the status of offensive tackle Akim Millington Thursday.
Stoops confirmed the redshirt sophomore from Wheaton, Ill., had quit the team by the middle of the afternoon. However, later in the day, a media report surfaced claiming Millington was back on the team. Given a chance to comment following the Sooners’ Thursday practice, Stoops declined to address the topic.
Assistant coaches and players were not made available to the media.
Millington was slated to start at right tackle when OU opens the season at 11 a.m. Saturday against TCU at Owen Field. However, he hasn’t practiced the last two days.
The 6-foot-5, 306-pound Millington was regarded one of the top linemen in the nation when he signed with OU out of Wheaton North High School. He redshirted the 2003 season, but played in five games last year. He was penciled in this year to replace Jammal Brown at right tackle.
Offensive line coach Kevin Wilson has spoken highly of Millington throughout the preseason and gave no indication of his departure at OU’s media luncheon Tuesday.
Chris Messner, a 6-6, 280-pound junior, will make his first start since the 2003 season Saturday.
If Millington’s departure stands, a thin offensive line will be even thinner.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; transfer Brandon Keith, left the team after two preseason practices. Keith has been attending classes and rejoined the team this week. OU would prefer to redshirt him.
That might not be possible. The Sooners already have true freshmen George Robinson, Branndon Braxton and Jon Cooper listed in the offensive line’s two-deep depth chart.
“We don't maybe have the number of guys and depth that we've had,” Stoops said, “but I believe the seven or eight guys that will play the most still can be awfully good.”
The Sooners will begin finding out Saturday.
Walker eyeing Peterson
Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season, is once again on the prize’s watch list.
The SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists Nov. 17, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote to determine the finalists a day later. The committee will cast a second vote on Nov. 28 to determine the recipient.
The recipient of the 2005 Doak Walker Award will be announced on ESPN along with other NCFAA member awards on The Home Depot College Football Awards Dec. 8.
Donations will be accepted
Donation baskets will be passed around Owen Field Saturday to help raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
During the game, buckets will be passed to receive contributions. Proceeds will be turned over to the American Red Cross for relief efforts along the Gulf Coast.
Some 150 student volunteers will assist with the collection, which will be prompted by a public address announcement.
More tickets on sale
Saturday’s game is sold out, but tickets remain for OU’s Sept. 10 contest against Tulsa and the Oct. 1 Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas State.
Tickets will be available to the public beginning at 8 a.m. today online at www.soonerports.com, by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 800-456-4668 or 405-325-2424, or in person at the Athletics Ticket Office located in the Asp Avenue parking garage.
Tickets are $52 for the Tulsa game and $62 for the Kansas State game and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last.