The No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners knew they would have to take some hits on the grueling trek through a college football season, but they didn’t think those hits would come this soon.
Oklahoma’s starting weak side linebacker and leading tackler for three consecutive seasons, Travis Lewis, is expected to be out eight weeks after breaking a bone in his foot during Monday’s practice. Lewis has long since been established as the Sooners’ top defensive stud, and his absence leaves a big, gaping hole that head coach Bob Stoops now has to hastily fill.
According to Stoops, Corey Nelson will be shifted into Lewis’ slot and Tony Jefferson will work at the nickel back. Further, Javon Harris is expected to see extended action at safety as a result of all of this.
"We're disappointed for Travis," Stoops said (via the school’s website). "He has worked very hard and I know he'll want to get back as quickly as possible.
"We'll adapt in the meantime. We've recruited very well and have some excellent athletes in those positions. I'm confident that those players will perform well."
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Although early projections tend to mean squat, the Sooners looked like a strong candidate to glide through most of the year with only a handful of “difficult” games on the schedule. Now with this uncertainty on the defensive side of the ball, anything is possible.
Lewis recorded 362 tackles, eight interceptions and six sacks through his first three seasons at Oklahoma.