As the season comes to a close, the Oklahoma Sooners find themselves preparing for the Russell Athletic Bowl. Unfortunately, the defense appears to be without a couple of players, one of which had a major impact in last season's Sugar Bowl victory.
Against possibly the best team in the country a year ago, Geneo Grissom totaled two sacks along with two fumble recoveries. However, it was the final fumble recovery that sealed the deal for Oklahoma as it was returned for a touchdown. Now, the Sooners must rely on another defensive playmaker at linebacker as Bob Stoops revealed in a press conference on Tuesday, "Geneo Grissom is probably a week or 10 days short of his target date to return to play.
Senior cornerback, Julian Wilson suffered a separated shoulder on Monday during practice adding himself to the list of those not expected to play on December 29th against Clemson. Although Wilson ended up losing the starting role late in the season, depth and experience can prove vital in games like the Russell Athletic Bowl. Expect Jordan Thomas to earn the start as OU takes the field in Orlando.
Finally, it's time to turn the focus toward the offensive side of the ball where the Sooners have received good news already knowing Trevor Knight gained clearance to practice and play. Could the good news trend continue with the next two players?
The freshman All-American runningback, Samaje Perine has yet to return to practice per Stoops report. Regardless, the outlook remains positive after the youngster suffered an ankle injury in Bedlam. All signs point to Perine taking to the backfield once again while looking to add to the already impressive numbers.
Last but certainly not least, Sterling Shepard who consistently pulled himself from games looks to be a game time decision once again. "He feels significantly different and better than he has," Stoops said. "We won't practice him much until we get him to the bowl site as well. Again, the way he has reacted though, ... we'll have to see once he gets in the game moment, is he able to make the explosive plays and hold up." There's no doubt that this offensive is better with Shepard on the field.
"I'm doing a lot better now. I've had a chance to get a lot of rest. It should be fine." - @sterl_shep3
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 17, 2014