Claremore Daily Progress

November 22, 2012

OU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Okies take Bedlam rivalry seriously

JOHN SHINN
CNHI News Services

NORMAN — Oklahoma only has six players in its two-deep depth chart from Oklahoma. The overwhelming majority are from Texas and elsewhere.



For the players from the state, like guard Bronson Irwin, Saturday’s meeting with Oklahoma State has added meeting.



“It means a lot. I grew up going to Bedlam games and it really does mean a lot being from the state,” the Mustang native said. “I know a lot of OSU fans and I have a lot of friends that play there and high school teammates that play there, so it really does mean a lot and I’m looking forward to it.”



Irwin joins center Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma City), slot receiver Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City), cornerback Aaron Colvin (Owasso), safety Javon Harris (Lawton) and nickelback Gabe Lynn (Jenks) as the only home-grown players on OU’s depth chart.



Don’t forget Clay: Running back Brennan Clay only rushed for seven yards last Saturday against West Virginia. However, the junior still had a huge impact on the game.



It was his 46-yard kickoff return that set up the Sooners’ game-winning touchdown drive.



“Brennan is a very versatile back that can do everything. He can run the football. He has great hands. He’s always been a good pass protector. He’s a great return guy,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “He contributes in a lot of ways. He’s always ready to go in and you can always count on him.”



Third-down improvement: The Sooners are now No. 3 in the country in third-down conversion rate at 52.99 percent (71 or 134). That average has risen with OU converting 27 or 42 in the last three games against Iowa State, Baylor and West Virginia.



“We’ve been really big on third down the last three weeks and it’s been the difference in the game really,” receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “Being able to stay on the field and move the ball and score points in the red zone, so that’s going to continue to be important and something we talk about with the guys all the time.”



Darlington on the spot: With right tackle Daryl Williams sidelined for the rest of the regular season, OU’s really down two spots. Williams also slid down to a guard spot when there were injuries to guards Bronson Irwin and Adam Shead.



Stoops said freshman center Ty Darlington will be OU’s first offensive lineman off the bench if an injury occurs in Saturday’s Bedlam game.



“Ty can go in at center and we can move Gabe (Ikard) to guard, I guess, on occasions,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We’ll work through what some of our plans would be. The coaches will be talking through what will be our best ways to go if things like that happen. Hopefully we don’t get any more.”