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Lincoln Riley: Woodi Washington Out 'A Significant Time,' Billy Bowman is Back

After two starters sat out with injury against Nebraska, the Sooner secondary could be something that gets reevaluated each week, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch says.

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley offered an update on two defensive starters who missed last week's game against Nebraska.

Nickel safety Billy Bowman is expected to return for this week's Big 12 Conference opener against West Virginia, Riley said, but the news wasn't so good for cornerback Woodi Washington.

"His injury will be some significant time," Riley said of Washington. "But we hope to see him back this season."

Washington took over the starting job late last season and emerged as a shutdown threat. 

Without Washington, the Sooners last week went to a steady rotation of Jaden Davis, Latrell McCutchin, D.J. Graham and Josh Eaton

At nickel, Bowman has alternated with Jeremiah Criddell, who also has missed time after a preseason injury this season. Against Nebraska, OU went almost exclusively with senior Justin Broiles at nickel.

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Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said Tuesday that the defensive backfield is being constantly evaluated and players could switch positions at any time.

"We’ve talked before about trying to play the best five guys between the safeties, nickels and corners," Grinch said. "Whether they’re healthy or not, (it's) something we’re always evaluating. This time last year ... I think Woodi was still a safety. Then we moved him to the cornerback role. Tre Norwood at this point last year was still rotating a bit at corner (before shifting to nickel). 

"That’s something that goes on during the course of the season. Something we’ll continue to look at. Have had some young guys who have held up OK but need more production from the positions. Long and short of it, we’ll continue to evaluate it."

Although Riley wasn't asked specifically about linebacker Danny Stutsman's availability — he left the Western Carolina game with an elbow injury — it's believed he probably won't be available this week but could return soon.

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