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July 16, 2007University of Oklahoma starting free safety Darien Williams suffered a stress fracture in his left foot during summer workouts. Williams underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fracture but he could be sidelined up to six weeks.
Williams did not participate in spring practices last March because he was recovering from offseason knee surgery.
In his absence, the Sooners worked junior Nic Harris and redshirt freshman Dominique Franks at Williams' free safety spot.
University officials released a statement on Monday stating that Williams could return for OU's season-opener on Sept. 1st against North Texas.
If Williams isn't back at full speed at that time it's likely that Harris or Franks would man the starting free safety spot.
But it's likely that both players would see significant action in Williams' absence because Harris serves as the teams' starting nickel back which would leave Franks as the starting free safety in passing situations.
Oklahoma defensive backs coach Bobby Jack Wright was very complimentary of Franks' play last spring.
"I made the statement to (Franks) and to some other folks when we first started spring ball - he just showed up the first couple of practices and he kept making plays - I made that comment that he's going to earn his way on the field," said Wright. "He's been doing that the entire spring. There's no question he's done that."
Williams' injury shouldn't hamper his ability to take over the starting free safety slot when he returns. Williams started 11 games last season and turned into OU's first consistent free safety in quite some time.