Oklahoma DB Holmes doubtful for Fiesta Bowl
12:39 AM CST on Sunday, December 23, 2007
The father of Oklahoma junior defensive back Lendy Holmes of South Oak Cliff said Saturday that his son is academically ineligible and won't play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 against West Virginia.
Lendy Holmes Sr. said his son's eligibility came down to one class and he "was missing one grade point." Holmes' father said the matter isn't totally resolved yet and there was still an outside chance his son could "make it right" and gain his eligibility.
Holmes Sr. said he was unsure what his son needed to do to obtain a passing grade and figured it would be tough at this point with the semester over and the school closed for the Christmas holidays. He added that he was cancelling his reservations in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl.
"He needed six grade points to be eligible and he had five. This can be a life lesson for everybody else. This is what happens if you don't take care of your business," Holmes Sr. said. "He's really tore up about it and hurt."
OU coach Bob Stoops couldn't be reached for comment.
Losing Holmes is a major blow to an already depleted OU secondary.
Stoops said earlier this month that Holmes would start at cornerback in the Fiesta Bowl in place of the injured Reggie Smith. Smith, the Sooners' top cornerback, suffered a fractured bone in the big toe of his right foot during OU's Big 12 Championship win against Missouri and has been ruled out for the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Holmes played at cornerback last year before moving to safety this season. Senior Darien Williams, who started at safety last year, will be filling the void left by Holmes.
But how OU fills the starting cornerback spot is uncertain. Redshirt freshman Dominique Franks is the likely choice. Franks is listed as the backup cornerback on the depth chart behind starter Marcus Walker, who lines up opposite of Smith. But outside of returning punts, Franks (5-10, 187) has seen limited playing time this season and has only three tackles.
Holmes (6-0, 193) had primarily been used in nickelback situations this season when the Sooners used a five-defensive back formation. Holmes ranked fifth on the team with 73 tackles and was tied for second with three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).
Lendy Holmes Sr. said his son was taking it hard.
"He's let Stoops down and his teammates down. He feels terrible," Holmes said. "Here it is, you have the big stage in a bowl game and he really had the opportunity to shine. But look at the lesson he'll get out of this – that's what I'm proud of. This guy will be focused in for the spring game and for his senior year. This is not the end of the world, because it's only one game, but come game time it's really going to be tough on him."