OU football: Why the Sooners' blocked punt took a backseat in the Beamer family

Oklahoma H-backs and tight ends coach Shane Beamer meets with reporters at OU on Monday. Beamer also helps with special teams, overseeing the punt-block unit. OU blocked its first punt since 2013 on Saturday. (Tyler Palmateer / The Transcript)

NORMAN, Okla. — Shane Beamer’s first game on Oklahoma’s coaching staff went about as well as could be expected.

He said his wife, Emily, commented after the 63-14 victory over Florida Atlantic that she couldn’t remember the last time one of her husband’s teams was up 42-0 at halftime.

One reason for the Sooners’ blowout was a blocked punt for a touchdown, performed by a unit Beamer oversees.

But when all was said and done, Beamer couldn’t top his sister’s big act.

“I kinda took a backseat. My sister had a baby on Saturday, so they saw the blocked punt, but believe it or not there was more excitement about the baby. It kinda made me mad,” Beamer joked. “No, the baby was born about an hour after the game, so my parents were with my sister in the hospital or at home babysitting her kids while she was in the hospital.”

After the game Beamer received a call from his dad, Frank, the former coach at Virginia Tech who spent most of career mastering the art of special teams.

“The first thing he says is, ‘Awesome blocked punt.’ You know where his heart is. He was certainly excited about it,” Beamer said.

Beamer said he offered the idea of going after a punt early in the game to OU coach Lincoln Riley as they left the locker room. 

"He was like, 'Heck, yeah. Let's go,'" Beamer said. 

• Morris on scholarship: Lee Morris’ school is finally paid for.

Riley put Morris on scholarship Monday after his huge day against FAU. He blocked a punt that resulted in a touchdown and scored on a 65-yard catch, reaching the end zone after a physical catch.

Morris has three career receptions as a Sooner and all have gone for TDs. His father, Lee Jr., played at OU as a walk-on in 1985 and 1986.

Morris played in high school at Allen, Texas with OU quarterback Kyler Murray. Left tackle Bobby Evans also attended Allen.

“We call him ‘BeastLee’ for a reason,” Evans said. “He's a freak athlete. In high school, I don't know if people know this but his vertical was like a 40-something inch. I've always known that he's a spectacular athlete. I've known him since middle school.”

• Cat’s meow: Riley took over for Bob Stoops at age 33, has stood in the depths of the Rose Bowl making decisions in double overtime and has squared off with Texas in the sultry Cotton Bowl.

But a cat ringtone in the middle of a press conference? That’s the test of a lifetime.

Riley had to compose himself briefly in the middle of his Monday media address ahead the UCLA game, when someone’s phone rang and revealed a strange ringtone of a cat meowing.

Riley was discussing Kyler Murray’s sideline-to-sideline scramble from the FAU game.

“Had he not stumbled he might have taken it the whole way —,” Riley stopped as a meow rang out across the room. “That was an interesting sound there.”

The room broke with laughter.

“So, he, uh … I kind of lost my train of thought a bit there. That was distracting. Ninety-thousand [fans] doesn’t do anything to me, but the cat sound got me,” Riley said.

• Mann of the hour: Defensive end Kenneth Mann was an obscurity on OU’s depth chart this time last year, but was selected as a 2018 team captain and received high marks for his play in last week’s win over Florida Atlantic.

Mann had three tackles Saturday, including a half-tackle for loss.

“He’s better in the run game than he was,” Riley said. “He’s got, because of his work ethic, because of the way he approaches the game, he has an impact on the rest of our group. He’s become more vocal. He’s a guy we look towards. He’s done enough that his teammates elected him as one of the captains.”

• Bolton named POW: Curtis Bolton’s punt-block recovery for a touchdown was part of his balanced day against Florida Atlantic.

At weakside linebacker he also totaled six tackles (1 for loss), which was second on the team. He earned the Big 12 defensive player of the week award.

Bolton started over Caleb Kelly, but the competition between them is expected to continue.

“It’ll potentially be fun down the line to figure out a way to get them both on the field. They’re both really good players,” Riley said.

• This, that: Redshirt freshman receiver Charleston Rambo (lower-body injury) is expected back this week. Freshman safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (lower-body) is questionable. … UCLA coach Chip Kelly said it’s unknown if quarterback Wilton Speight (back) will play against the Sooners. OU opened as a 25 1/2-point favorite.

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