Monday, March 7, 2011
Roundup: Players in, out, and off the field
By David Ubben
Here's what you missed over the weekend:
Sooners down another DB
Oklahoma announced safety Marcus Trice would be transferring, which usually wouldn't cause much of a ripple considering Trice played primarily special teams and didn't crack the depth chart last season, eventually being moved to receiver.
But as a freshman, Trice worked as a backup safety and looked ready to become a major contributor again as a sophomore. He didn't, and rumors swirled that he turned in defensive backs coach Willie Martinez for asking in a voicemail for an explanation of why Trice missed a voluntary workout, which is a secondary violation of NCAA rules. The violation forced Oklahoma to sit out a week during this offseason.
Reached by the Tulsa World, however, Trice denied the rumors.
"It wasn't me," Trice told the paper, "but I don't and won't throw anyone else under the bus."
He cited a desire for playing time, something that didn't look like it was coming any time soon at Oklahoma, a school Trice said he grew up dreaming of playing for.
A source at Oklahoma also told the paper that Trice wasn't in bad graces with the coaches. Oklahoma won't be hurt much by his departure, with Javon Harris, Sam Proctor or perhaps nickel back Tony Jefferson looking well prepared to take over for the Sooners' departed safeties, Quinton Carter and Jonathan Nelson. But it's certainly an interesting case, more so than a routine transfer.
The Sooners did get some good news, however.
Receiver Dejuan Miller's career picked up steam with strong outings in wins over Cincinnati (3 rec., 66 yards) and Texas (5 rec., 61 yards) before a knee injury ended his season. He's been cleared for action this spring, but won't compete in contact drills or play full speed.
Oklahoma's receiving corps already has two outstanding options in Biletnikoff Award finalist Ryan Broyles and sophomore Kenny Stills, who broke Broyles' freshman receiving record with 786 yards last year. Trey Franks came on late, as did tight end James Hanna and the Sooners signed a top receiver in Trey Metoyer in their 2011 class, but Miller returning to form could make them even deeper.
Two Cyclones arrested
Iowa State defensive end Jacob Lattimer and reserve tight end Ricky Howard were arrested over the weekend and suspended indefinitely.
Lattimer, 22, faces charges of assault on a peace officer and interference with official acts. Howard, 20, is suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Lattimer moved from linebacker to defensive end last season and appeared in all 12 games, making 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also forced two fumbles.
Howard did not play last season.
Cowboys get punter back
Oklahoma State had to play without Ray Guy semifinalist and All-Big 12 punter Quinn Sharp in the Alamo Bowl. The game carried on without incident thanks to a solid performance from Lou Groza Award winner Dan Bailey's fill-in duties as kickoff specialist and punter, but the Cowboys won't have to worry about any hiccups in 2011.
The academic issues surrounding Sharp have been cleared up, and he's been reinstated to the team, taking part in offseason conditioning and preparing for spring practice, which begins today in Stillwater.
Barring any further changes, he should be ready to go for the season this fall. That's great news for a team with legitimate Big 12 title aspirations. You never miss specialists like Sharp until something goes horribly wrong. The Cowboys won't have to worry about that moving forward. Sharp will also compete this spring to replace his replacement in the bowl game, Bailey, as the Cowboys' placekicker.