One Lewis back, one to go for Sooner football team
Junior defensive end Ronnell Lewis is eligible to play Saturday against Tulsa, the OU athletic department announced Thursday.
OU coach Bob Stoops expressed his excitement to have Lewis officially back in the fold after more than a month of uncertainly.
“We are very happy for Ronnell,” Stoops said. “This has been a difficult process, and I know he’s relieved today. Now he can fully concentrate on this season and school year.”
OU's defense and its defensive line are exponentially better off with Lewis than without.
“Ronnell (Lewis) is the best defensive end we have,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said after Monday’s practice.
Lewis will start opposite senior Frank Alexander at the other defensive end position. The two make a scary combination for opposing quarterbacks, combining for 76 tackles — including 17 for loss — in 2010.
Lewis and Alexander should make for a stout pass rush that could make the secondary’s job easier against pass-happy Tulsa on Saturday.
Lewis’ presence on the line adds so much more than tackles to the defense.
Perhaps even more important than his tackles is the attention he demands from opposing offensive lines. Lewis will likely draw double teams and open things up for the linebackers.
This ability will be even more important early on this season with senior linebacker Travis Lewis, a team captain and three-time leading tackler, out with a foot injury for several more weeks.
Sophomore linebacker Corey Nelson will appreciate the help from Ronnell Lewis since the sole responsibility of replacing Travis Lewis rests on his shoulders.
The confirmation of Lewis’ eligibility restores one key piece to OU’s defense. One Lewis back, one to go.