.J. Yeldon, Frank Shannon

Frank Shannon still with Sooners, taking most first-team reps


The strange case that is the University of Oklahoma vs. Frank Shannon continues Tuesday, with yet another development that adds an extra layer or two to the situation.

Following practice earlier today, Jordan Evans, who’s expected to take over at linebacker if Shannon’s season-long suspension is upheld, was asked if the Sooners’ leading tackler last season was getting any reps with the first-team defense.  Evans’ answer will surprise some who thought Shannon was no longer in the mix at OU.

He’s been taking all of them. But we’re doing a whole bunch of things, the player said, before clarifying a bit. “I shouldn’t say all of them. But he’s taking a lot of reps. … So am I. They are really rotating in everybody some they can get an amount of reps and see where you are at.”

For his part, Bob Stoops is letting others handle the off-field situation involving the defensive leader.

“It’s like anything; we coach the players that are there,” the head coach said. “It’s pretty much how it goes. All we can control are the players that are on the field, and that’s all we ever can control. That’s all we do: coach the players that are there.

“We get guys hurt week in and week out who aren’t available, next guy up’s gonna come in and do the job. It’s just how it goes.”

OU announced earlier this week that, in mid-June, Shannon was suspended by the university for the entire 2014 season.  The linebacker’s future at Oklahoma was “in limbo” after he was accused of sexual assault.  The Cleveland County (Okla.) District Attorney’s Office, however, declined to pursue charges following a weeks-long investigation.

A Title IX investigation, though, led to the suspension.

Shannon is fighting the suspension through the court system, with the player already getting a victory in district court  The Cleveland County district court judge ruled that Shannon is allowed to remain enrolled as a student and participate in OU football activities.  OU has appealed the decision to the state’s supreme court.

Until then, Shannon will be permitted to practice with the Sooners and, if the case bleeds into the regular season, play in games.

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.