The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

August 31, 2008

Sooners’ Box expected to play against Cincinnati

NORMAN — Enid’s Austin Box, who sat out Oklahoma’s 57-2 rout of Chattanooga Saturday after having knee surgery earlier this month, should play this week against Cincinnati.

“I anticipate he will,’’ said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Whether Box will return to his starting weakside linebacker spot is uncertain.

Travis Lewis, who started in Box’s place Saturday, led the Sooner defensive charge with four solo and two assisted tackles.

“He’s got to go back there and earn it,’’ Venables said of Box. “We’ll see how it goes.’’

Mike Balogun, a junior college transfer, had been expected to start in Box’s place. Lewis started, Venables said, because he was more consistent in practice.

“There’s a lot of things that go into it,’’ Venables said, “but the most consistent guy is going to be rewarded. Travis played well for us tonight.’’

Who is the most consistent in practice this week will determine if Box or Lewis or Balogun starts.

“Yup, that’s exactly right,’’ Venables said.

The Sooner linebacker corps of Keenan Clayton on the strongside and Ryan Reynolds in the middle played well as a unit with Lewis, Venables said.

“There was great communication out there,’’ Venables said. “They were able to collect information from the sideline before I had to get on them. That’s part of the maturation process. I’m pleased with that.’’

Reynolds had two solo and two assisted tackles in his first start at middle linebacker.

“He’s always around the football,’’ Venables said. “He has a good feel for the game and a good understanding of the game. He has good technique. It didn’t surprise me how well he did.’’

The Football Championship Subdivision Mocs managed only two first downs against the Sooner defense. Chattanooga, with 65 scholarships, was obviously outmatched. The Mocs were 2-9 last season.

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