As if Oklahoma's roster hadn't endured enough turbulence this month, it took another hit Friday when senior defensive tackle Stacy McGee was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of university policy, costing OU one of its largest and most experienced bodies against the run. Coach Bob Stoops confirmed the suspension after the Sooners' morning practice, but declined to specify the reason behind it or when it may be lifted. McGee remains listed on the official roster.
A 6-foot-4, 300-pound, fifth-year senior from Muskogee, Okla. – feel free to cue up Merle Haggard for this paragraph – McGee has started 14 games over the last two seasons, more than anyone else on the OU defensive line. Last year, he logged three starts as part of a rotation with fellow juniors Jamarkus McFarland and Casey Walker, turning in 22 total tackles (3.5 loss) and one sack. He also sat out the season opener against Tulsa, likely the result of an offseason marijuana arrest.
There are no reports of an arrest this time around, but McGee's absence will strain depth across the front four: Behind McGee and Walker, the rest of the defensive tackles are all freshmen and sophomores, none of whom has seen significant playing time. As a stopgap, Stoops said 286-pound senior David King, a part-time starter at defensive end the last two years, will slide inside to take more reps at tackle. But behind King, there are no other defensive ends who have started in a college game, either.
Since the start of preseason practice, injuries have already cost Oklahoma a pair of senior starters on the offensive line, Ben Habern and Tyler Evans, who had combined for 59 starts over the last three years. (Both will miss the entire 2012 season, Evans to a knee injury, Habern to a lingering neck injury that will likely keep him from playing football again.) Another offensive lineman, redshirt freshman Dylan Dismuke, was placed on medical hardship, effectively ending his career; yet another, incoming freshman John Michael McGee, quit the team just a few days into drills. Two incoming junior college transfers who were expected to contribute right away, offensive lineman Will Latu and wide receiver Courtney Gardner, both failed to make the cut academically. Sophomore receiver Kameel Jackson, a solid contributor down the stretch last year as a true freshman, was permanently dismissed from the teamafter spending the summer on indefinite suspension. And opening day at UTEP is still two weeks away.
On the brighter side, OU also reinstated three players, junior receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks and sophomore safety Quentin Hayes, whose scholarships had been pulled over the proverbial undisclosed violation of team rules in May. Still, all three will likely spend at least one game on the bench as penance.