March 30, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma has suspended running back Keith Ford indefinitely for academic and team rules violations

The school and coach Bob Stoops made the announcement on Monday.

Ford was Oklahoma's top rusher and one of the Sooners' top receivers last season before he broke his right leg in the third game against Tennessee and missed the next five games. Samaje Perine took over as the lead back and finished with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Ford finished last season with 392 yards and five touchdowns rushing and 140 yards and another score receiving. He was the team's best pass catcher out of the backfield, and he was good enough to temporarily regain his starting spot after returning from his injury.

New offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who is installing his Air Raid offense, said he won't dwell on Ford's absence.

''You know, I'm going to stay worried about the guys we've got,'' Riley said after Monday's practice. ''Those are the guys I've got to worry about right now.''

Ford might struggle to find playing time if or when he returns. Perine is a sophomore who set the national FBS record with 427 yards rushing last season against Kansas. Alex Ross, who was a reserve running back and one of the nation's best kick returners last season, also is back. Rodney Anderson, a highly regarded freshman, is out for the spring with a sprained MCL. Stoops has said Anderson, who is expected back for the fall, has the ability to play immediately.

Joe Mixon, one of the nation's top recruits last year, has returned after a season-long suspension. Wide receiver Durron Neal said the 6-foot-2, 217-pound speedster has looked dynamic in practice.

''He's good,'' Neal said. ''He's very good. He's a very elusive, big back. He's just another one of those guys that's always ready to play football, and always a high energy guy. He's looked really good, and he's going to be a problem for a lot of teams.''

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .

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