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April 12, 2014

Spring Game: Shannon out, Evans shines

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Junior linebacker Frank Shannon was amongst those who did not play in OU's spring game, though for a different reason than most. Shannon was not at OU's open media practice last Thursday either.

"Frank right now is working through some personal issues, and so we'll wait and see on that," OU coach Bob Stoops said.

Stoops wouldn't say anymore than that.

Shannon recorded a career-high 92 tackles last season including seven for a loss with two sacks. With Shannon out, sophomore Jordan Evans received the bulk of the snaps beside Dominique Alexander at inside linebacker and recorded three tackles in the spring game.

video by Eddie Radosevich

Evans spelled Shannon last year and proved critical to OU's success against Texas Tech when Shannon was injured.

"Jordan had an excellent day again today," Stoops said. "He's been making that kind of improvement all spring. He's a really good player, and he's gotten a lot bigger."


Geneo Grissom suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament during the game. He left the field under his own power. He'll be in a brace for the next six weeks.

"He should be able to start once we get back in June with no operation," Stoops said.

Grissom recently made the move to outside linebacker. He recorded one tackle during the spring game.


With quarterback Baker Mayfield having to sit out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, quarterbacks Justice Hansen and Cody Thomas are in a two-horse race for the second spot on the depth chart behind Trevor Knight.

In the spring game, Thomas passed for 52 yards on 5-of-9 passing with a touchdown while Hansen passed for 58 yards on 4-of-8 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Following the game, Heupel made clear what he expects to see out of his backup quarterback.

"You want a guy who can manage the football game," he said. "Take care of it, not turn it over, can operate with what you're doing offensively. Every little detail shows up in the course of a ballgame. That's what today was."


Despite sophomore Keith Ford carrying the ball nine times for 29 yards in the spring game and sophomore Alex Ross carrying the ball just six times for three yards, Stoops said neither running back separated himself for the starting job in September.

"The bottom line is we're going to play two or three of them regardless," Stoops said. "They're gonna all play. That's how we do it. For sure two of them. With our pace and the number of snaps we get, two have to play."

Heupel said he's been encouraged this spring not just by Ford and Ross ability to run hard but their soft hands.

"I feel like both of those guys have really progressed a long ways this spring," he said. "They're both capable of when both of when they get into the open field of going the distance. They're both strong physical runners.

"The surprising thing about both those guys this spring is they've both caught the ball extremely well out of the backfield and they've grown in their pass protection."

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