FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Oklahoma again has a starting quarterback feeling under the weather ahead of the College Football Playoff.
Kyler Murray didn’t attend Wednesday’s media session after informing an OU spokesman that he wasn’t feeling well, but the Heisman Trophy winner threw passes in a helmet and shoulder pads during 15 minutes reporters were allowed to observe practice that afternoon at Florida Atlantic University.
Another familiar face was suited up for Sooners: leading receiver Marquise Brown, who lightly ran routes as he recovers from a lower-leg injury. It was the first sign of his status after weeks of vague updates from OU.
OU will practice at 2:30 p.m. today at Brown’s high school alma mater, Chaminade Madonna High School.
Brown and Murray’s presence should help calm fears about the Sooners’ health situation going into Saturday’s Orange Bowl meeting with No. 1 Alabama. It’s a familiar feeling after an ill Baker Mayfield led the Sooners into last year’s Rose Bowl.
Brown, who leads OU with 1,318 yards receiving and is tied for the team lead with 10 touchdowns, has been recouping since suffering his injury in the Dec. 1 Big 12 championship game.
News of Murray’s illness was more sudden.
OU co-offensive coordinator Cale Gundy said Murray practiced “just fine” on Christmas Day and that he didn’t know anything about Murray’s condition — which has not been officially disclosed — until Wednesday morning.
“I’m sure the doctors probably got with him and probably thought it was best to get a little rest before practice,” Gundy said.
Murray’s had a whirlwind month, which included trips to Atlanta and New York City for ESPN’s college football awards show and the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
OU running back Trey Sermon didn’t seem concerned.
“[Murray’s] fine,” Sermon said. “He’s fine.”
Redshirt freshman safety Justin Broiles practiced in pads after missing the past two games. Senior safety Kahlil Haughton, who has missed the last three games, was sidelined and wearing street clothes.
OU running back Trey Sermon hasn’t missed a start in 11 games, but said he’s finally 100 percent since suffering an ankle sprain against TCU in October.
• Tua not 100 percent: Health watch continues on Alabama’s side, too.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa says he’s been progressing nicely from a high ankle sprain suffered in the SEC championship game Dec. 1, but still categorizes himself as “80-85 percent.”
He walked with a noticeable limp at Wednesday’s availability, but has been practicing for several weeks.
• Plug and play: Alabama won’t have starting left guard Deonte Brown after he was suspended for violating team rules. But the Crimson Tide have an effective backup in Lester Cotton.
Cotton has made 26 career starts.
“The guy started three years for us,” Alabama offensive coordinator Michael Locksley said. “Obviously Deonte played really well for us coming into this season, but we have a lot of confidence in Lester, all the games that he started around here. We’re fortunate to be able to have that type of depth.”
• Recruiting wars: Starting with this year’s current 2019 group, Alabama has had the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class seven times since 2011, according to Rivals.
Gundy knows how hard that is after years working as OU’s recruiting coordinator.
“Well, it’s impressive. You look at their win-loss record for the last so many years, I think they’ve — the last couple, two, three years, they’ve lost one game. It’s been impressive what they’ve got going. But they are human. They do get beat by people. It’s going to be a challenge.”