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Friday, June 26, 2009
OU special-teams depth chart set heading into fall camp

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

A couple of interesting tidbits came out of Oklahoma recently that had nothing to do with the megabuck new contracts awarded to Bob Stoops and his assistants.

The Sooners have set their special-teams depth charts heading into fall camp. Sophomore Jimmy Stevens will head into summer camp as the Sooners' No. 1 kicker and redshirt freshman Tress Way is the No. 1 punter.

The ranking of Stevens, who kicked for Oklahoma last season, isn't a surprise. But he could be pushed during training camp by walk-on Bryce Easley, who will arrive later in the summer. Way and junior college wide receiver Cameron Kenney also might get a look.

Stevens scored 118 points for the Sooners last season when he converted 94 of 99 extra points and eight of 12 field goals. But his kicking was inconsistent at times as he missed two kicks between the 30- and 39-yard line. His longest was a 42-yarder against Texas A&M.  

Way appears to be in the driver's seat to replace Mike Knall. Easley and Kenney could challenge him if Way struggles during camp.

Stoops also appears ready to give up the idea of DeMarco Murray as a kick returner. Murray suffered a hamstring injury while returning the opening kickoff of the Big 12 championship game and missed the BCS championship game because of the injury.

Instead, cornerback Dominique Franks and wide receiver Ryan Broyles are listed as the Sooners' projected kickoff and punt returners. Both are starters, but Stoops appears to be pushing them into the roles rather than Murray, who averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return last season.

Broyles was the Sooners' major punt returner last season. He averaged 9.9 yards on 24 returns including a 68-yard return for a touchdown against Kansas State.

Carter Whitson is listed as the Sooners' holder and walk-ons James Winchester and Ben Hampton are listed as the top two deep-snappers.

Stoops also told the Oklahoman during a stop Thursday in Tulsa that most of the injured players who missed spring practice are healthy heading into fall practice.

Only defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger (back) is still recovering from surgery.

The other players -- linebackers Austin Box (knee, elbow) and Ryan Reynolds (knee), Murray (hamstring), tight end Brody Eldridge (ankle) and defensive end Auston English (ankle, knee) -- should be at full speed for the workouts.

"From what I understand from our medical people," Stoops told the Oklahoman, "they're all cleared and fully released to do everything that we're doing."