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August 23, 2011

Scoop HD: Coaches, players stand behind Ronnell Lewis

Coaches, players and fans remain in limbo concerning the status of preseason All-Big 12 defensive end Ronnell Lewis. Little light has been shed on exactly why Lewis' eligibility is in question.



Bob Stoops said last week Lewis was missing practices because of a "personal issue". On Monday, he was back with the team but Stoops said there had been no resolution.

"He's still working on some family matters," said Stoops. "He did practice today and looked good, so we'll see where that goes. Like I said, whenever anything's definitive, I will say something."

On Monday fans and media were still left with more questions than answers. And the focus turned to how Lewis is handling the uncertainty about his future.



"It's just a situation that nobody is particularly excited to go through, but we've got to go through it and as adults you kind of have to help him go through it," explained Bobby Jack Wright of how Lewis is handling his situation.

"There's times when he might get his dauber down not knowing, because of the uncertainty. Anybody would feel that way."

As much anxiety as there is in the Oklahoma fan base - it's become a constant topic on Internet message board, talk radio and around water coolers in the state of Oklahoma - there has to be even more worry for Lewis.

But Wright said his talented defensive end is handling things well.

"He's fine, he's great," said Wright. "His attitude at practice - he's one of the hardest workers we have out there. So Ronnel's got no issues with me."

Lewis' teammates say they haven't noticed any cracks in 'The Hammer' while he's been going through this process. But they want him to know they are there to back him up if he needs it.

"We're all brothers," said defensive end David King, who would replace Ronnell in the starting lineup if he is ruled ineligible. "He can come talk to any one of us and we'll have his back and we'll go the extra mile for him. Whatever he needs us to do, we'll do it for him. We break out (of the practice huddle) every day with 'brothers' and we mean that."

Right now, this program isn't ready to rule out a season without 'The Hammer' as a big part of what they do on defense.

"The main thing for Ronnell is he knows he's our guy. We've made that clear to him and he knows that," said Wright. "Once everything is resolved, there's nothing to it right now, but once it's resolved and he's cleared, he'll be my guy. He knows that and he feels good about that."


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