Joe Mixon avoids mention at Sooners Caravan

Stoops doesn't discuss running back on eve of practice

Even with the beginning of fall practice, which starts at 5:45 a.m. Thursday, just hours away, all the talk in the past week has been about incoming freshman running back Joe Mixon’s legal situation stemming from an alleged incident early last Friday morning.

Everyone has been talking about the young, talented running back who was involved in an altercation with a female student.

That is except Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

Stoops was not asked and did not make a comment about Mixon during the final stop on the Sooner Caravan in Oklahoma City at the Jim Thorpe Museum.

Oklahoma did release a statement on Twitter, announcing that Mixon will not be involved with the team.

“Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time,” the Oklahoma Football twitter feed posted Wednesday afternoon. “We will continue to monitor the situation.”

Mixon’s attorney Kevin Finlay responded with a statement: “Our understanding is he is not being suspended, he is being held out of activities pending the conclusion of the investigation. I believe that is University of Oklahoma policy, and he is being treated as would any student-athlete.”

It is yet to be seen what will happen with Mixon as the investigation continues, but Stoops did address other issues as the season nears.

‘He’s not the man, yet’

There have been plenty of really talented quarterbacks that have played for Oklahoma and a large handful under Stoops.

The long-time coach pointed that out Wednesday, and he added that current quarterback Trevor Knight has a chance to be just as talented. He’s just not there at this moment.

“He’s working on being the man,” Stoops said of Knight. “He’s not the man yet. … But we love him, he’s a great worker.”

Stoops added that Knight will bring a multi-dimensional aspect to the quarterback position for the Sooners. Now with Blake Bell moved to tight end, it’ll also be Knight’s team entirely. No more sharing the spotlight.

“He’s free on the team to be a leader, and the guy,” Stoops said. “… And’s he’s only a sophomore. He’s going to grow from the experience a year ago. We do expect a much more consistent quarterback.”

‘We’ve had a year’

The amount of defensive improvement between this time last year and present day was classified by Stoops in a term usually reserved for space travel. “We’re light years ahead of where we were last year at this time,” he said. “We’ve worked through all the ins and outs and the kinks with it. … Although it fit us well a year ago, we get it even more with the players that we have. We’ve had a year to train our players in this system.

“We’ve got some new wrinkles as well as ironed out some things. I think we’ll make quite a bit of improvement on defense this year.”

The Sooner’s 3-4 defense – or 50 defense – should improve a dynamic pass rush from the outside by Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom with a strong push up the middle from Jordan Phillips and Charles Tapper, who has the ability to really create havoc for opposing teams.

‘I’m not lying about anything.’

Stoops didn’t back off his SEC talk, which he brought back to Oklahoma from his string of interviews with ESPN in Bristol, CT. “I didn’t say a lot that was false,” he said to a full crowd of laughter. Stoops said that he was asked multiple times if the Big 12’s lacking conference championship would cause a problem, and he reacted by saying that playing nine conference games and a tough out of conference schedule should be good enough. “That’s more than enough – compared to people that aren’t doing that,” Stoops said to another cheer. He added that the SEC is top heavy in his comments earlier and that Texas A&M and Missouri have had quick success in the league.

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