NORMAN — After Monday’s practice, Oklahoma defensive tackle David King was heading straight for the cold tub. He was two days removed from playing just about every defensive snap in the season opener against UTEP. His body was informing him that kind of extended duty comes at price.
“I’ll be fine by Wednesday,” he said.
King will be joined in that tub of ice-cold water by fellow defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. He was out there for nearly every play against UTEP, too.
It was a scenario the Sooners (1-0) don’t want to play out all season, but one they face as the status of senior defensive tackles Casey Walker and Stacy McGee remain in limbo. OU coach Bob Stoops said on Monday that neither will play when OU’s hosts Florida A&M (0-1) in the home opener at 6 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field.
Walker is still dealing with a “non-football related issue.” McGee is serving an athletic department mandated suspension. Without them on the field, OU’s defensive tackle depth has taken a serious hit. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said didn’t know exactly how many plays King and McFarland played against the Miners, but he did know that their backups — redshirt freshman Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson — each played three snaps.
“I didn’t think we were gassed, so we stuck with the first line probably more than we would have like,” he said. “You hope you grow as the season goes on and you hope young players progress and gain confidence and trust in what you’re doing.”
This is a critical week for that growth. The Rattlers are an FCS team that qualify as the rent-a-win on the Sooners’ schedule. This is the week and the game the Sooner bench needs to play a big role. If things go as planned, it will likely be their only opportunity get some serious game experience.