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Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander
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A Quick Look At OU's Talented Defensive End
A sirloin-sized hunk of flesh hung from Frank Alexander’s elbow. Quarts of blood poured from his arm.
But all Alexander was worried about was upsetting his mother.
“I didn’t want to call her and bother her at that time of night,” Alexander said.
Eventually, of course, Juanita Alexander discovered that her son had suffered a serious wound in a bar brawl.
“My mom’s reaction, she was real scared,” he said.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 31, following Oklahoma’s 57-2 victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga in the 2008 season opener, Alexander and some friends were jumped outside a Norman nightclub.
“He was a victim,” said head coach Bob Stoops.
When the police arrived and dust settled, Alexander was left with a knife wound between the elbow and triceps muscle on his right arm. The blood was so profuse that his companions used shirts as a tourniquet.
“I wasn’t really scared,” Anderson said. “It happened so fast. I didn’t even really know I had gotten cut until my friend told me I had to go the hospital and everything. I went to the hospital and that’s when I found out it was that bad.
“When I got to the hospital, they took the shirt off and blood was just running down. They had to put it back on there until I could get to the McBride (Clinic’s) Surgical Center.”
Alexander sat in the emergency room at the Edmond, Okla., hospital and learned the full extent of his injury — and that he wouldn’t be playing football again any time soon for the Sooners.
“When I went, the doctor said, ‘I’ve got to do some surgery because you cut a muscle,’” said Alexander. “When he told me that, I knew — I thought I wasn’t going to play no more. I just prayed up, me and my mom and my dad, and just put it in God’s hands. He made the way for me.”
Alexander, a 6-foot-4, 249-pound redshirt-freshman defensive end from Baton Rouge, La., managed the pain of the cut just fine thanks to antibiotics and pain meds. But the anguish of not playing for almost two months was a much tougher pill to swallow.
“It was very frustrating at the time, because being a redshirt freshman, you’ve already sat out a whole year,” he said. “When I played the first game, not thinking it was going to be my last game (for a while), I just wanted to be able to play my whole redshirt-freshman year and play the whole year out. When that situation happened, it took a lot out of me. But it also made me realize that I had to be focused and be more careful with the places I go.”
Alexander played a little against Chattanooga and appeared ready to step into a bigger role. Instead, he missed the next five games. He returned for minimal duty in the Oct. 18 home game against Kansas, then got more action against Kansas State, including a sack of K-State quarterback Josh Freeman that forced a fumble.
“There are things that Frank does that I don’t teach,” said OU defensive ends coach Chris Wilson. “He’s athletic for a big frame. He’s got long arms, which creates a lot of separation. He’s a 6-4, 6-5 guy, but he’s probably got the wingspan of a 7-foot guy. So he’s able to bend and get the edges, and that’s really showed up in our pass rush for us.”
A week later, at Texas A&M, Alexander’s role was expanded further — to starter — when Auston English went down with a knee injury against Nebraska. Alexander went from the training room to the starting lineup in just three weeks.
“We’re disappointed for Auston, of course. He’s been a great leader for us, a tough player,” Stoops said. “Frank will just have to step up and get more snaps.”
English’s playmaking ability, leadership and relentless motor would certainly be missed. But Alexander’s teammates believe he’s the right man for the job.
“Frank’s a hard worker,” said sophomore co-captain defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “He worked hard to get back, and he actually came back sooner than we thought. But he did a good job doing it and he’s been playing very well for us. He’s a good player. He doesn’t have many games under his belt, because of the unfortunate accident that happened. But the games he has played, he’s contributed a lot, and it’s good to have him on the field.”
Senior defensive end Alan Davis inherited Alexander’s backup role before suffering his own knee injury at Texas A&M. But Davis likes what he’s seen of Alexander so far.
“Frank Alexander,” Davis said, “is going to be a big-time player for the University of Oklahoma in years to come.”
Alexander, of course, would like nothing more than to live up to his teammate’s lofty expectations.
(Editor's Note: The story appears in the Nov. 28 issue of Sooner Spectator magazine. To subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877.)