PRACTICE REPORT: Rawls making his move?

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops and defensive tackle coach Jackie Shipp talk about Saturday's practice

NORMAN, Okla. — With many of the top juniors in the area on hand for junior day, Oklahoma closed out the final hour of Saturday's practice with a full-contact scrimmage. And once again, all eyes were on the quarterbacks.

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops would not give any hints on who stands were in the quarterback race, but he did have a rave review for the future of the offense.

"I think we're going to have our best offensive team since we've been here," said Stoops. "Our offensive line is going to be the best we've had. Our receivers can make big plays and our running backs are very good."

"I've got four good quarterbacks right now," Stoops continued. "We're not close to putting them in any order or chart. We don't even like to do depth charts. I can't tell you who is going to be the starter, but whoever it is is going to be very good."

The two quarterbacks who clearly stood out on Saturday day were Brent Rawls and Noah Allen, but especially Rawls. It appears that Rawls is beginning to finally figure it out, as he put together a fantastic scrimmage Saturday.

Rawls got the opportunity to lead the first team offense against the first team defense during the third-and-long portion of the series and was outstanding. On one drive, Rawls hit Mark Clayton and Brandon Jones on curl routes and then found Bubba Moses for a 54-yard gain.

There are certain passes that only Brent Rawls can make. And today, he did that on several occasions, which brought high praise from Bob Stoops.

"I thought he looked real good," said Stoops. "I think he's progressing faster than we expected. Today, his progression of reads, and choices on where to throw the ball were outstanding. You can see that he's got a gifted arm. We're not ready to name a starter yet. But today, Brent Rawls was really good."

In addition to Rawls, Noah Allen also stood out on Saturday. He doesn't look the best in practice drills, but when the lights are on and it's gametime, he just moves gets the job done. Allen helped his offense move the chains and even scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown run on a third and goal situation.

Jason White didn't move the chains much during the scrimmage, mainly because of several drops by the receivers, and Paul Thompson struggled as well.

White did throw touchdown passes to Mark Clayton and Brandon Jones during the pass skel drills, but was also intercepted by Brodney Pool and Mark Bradley. Clayton also dropped a potential touchdown pass from White on a fade route in the corner of the end zone.

On defense, it was the defensive tackles who stood out as Tommie Harris had his best scrimmage over the last two years. Harris, and fellow tackle Dusty Dvoracek, were in the backfield wreaking havoc all day long.

"Today was Tommie's best practice in a long time," said defensive tackle coach Jackie Shipp. "He was injured last year and we didn't practice him like we would have liked to last year. Tommie is really taking a leadership role and has been hard to block this spring. Tommie is playing at a different level right now."

Shipp has also been impressed with Dvoracek.

"It's great to see Dusty playing so well," said Shipp. "Dusty feeds off of practice. and the more positive practices he can have the better he will be."

"Lynn McGruder is making progress every single day and Kory Klein is consistently good," Shipp continued. "We've have a really good group of tackles. I've got four guys that I feel real good about playing."

Shipp also added that he'd like for his tackles to beef up a little more before the start of two-a-days.

"We're playing against guards that are double teaming us at a combined 600 pounds. We need to be a little bigger in the ass to hang in there."

The big play of the day was when Harris mauled Kejuan Jones on one carry, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Donta Hickson.

Another player who continues to impress on defense is junior college transfer Donte Nicholson.

"Donte has been absolutely fantastic," said Stoops. "He's been everything and more that we thought he would be when we recruited him. He's got size; he's got speed; he has instincts. He already has an understanding of what we're doing when he came in and he has quickly adapted to what he didn't know.

"He's going to be a great leader because he is a take charge kind of guy," Stoops continued. "He knows how to deliver a hit and he is a sure tackler. He runs through the ball carrier. He's very good at covering, which surprised us a little. He'll also be a big asset on special teams.

Below are some scrimmage notes from each individual series...

First Team Offense vs. First Team Defense
• Option from Rawls to Works for two yards.
• Toss Sweep to Works on second and long for a 52-yard gain. • Kejuan Jones 14-yard run off right tackle.
• Rawls scramble for a 4-yard gain.
• Jones 2-yards gain on a dive play.
• Rawls incomplete pass.
• Rawls 7-yard touchdown pass to Will Peoples.

Second Team Offense vs. Second Team Defense
• Allen screen pass Estus for 3.
• Estus no gain on a sweep.
• Allen incomplete pass.

New series
• Allen 9-yard pass to Richard Allen.
• Estus run no gain.
• Estus run for 1-yard.
• Estus on a sweep for 11.
• Allen to Wilson for 24-yard gain.
• Estus run for no gain.
• Hickson run for 3-yards.
• Allen scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown on first and goal from the 13.

Fields Goals (Trey DiCarlo)
Good: 27, 37, 52
No Good: 37, 52

First Team O vs. First Team D
• Jones fumble forced by Harris.
• Thompson sacked by Dvoracek.
• Jones run stopped for no gain.

Second Team O vs. Second Team Third and short)
• White Fumbled snap.
• Hickson 8-yards gain up the middle.
• White sacked by Leanar Nixon.
• Estus 2-yard gain.

First Team O vs. First Team D (Third and Long)
• White scramble for 5-yards.
• Screen pass to Brandon Jones dropped.
• White outside curl pass to Donley for first down.
• Incomplete pass.

First Team O vs. First Team D (Third and Long)
• Rawls to clayton for first down.
• Rawls to Jones for first down.
• Rawls to Bubba Moses for 54-yards.

Second Team O vs. Second Team D (Third and Long)
• Thompson 5-yard scramble.
• Incomplete pass (almost intercepted).
• Incomplete pass.
• Hickson 23-yard run.
• Hickson 3-yard run.
Second Team O vs. Second Team D (Third and Long)
• Allen to Chester for 42-yards.
• Ntuna Ekuri no gain.
• Ntuna Ekuri 3-yard gain.
• Ntuna Ekuri 1-yard gain.

First Team O vs. First Team D (Red Zone)
• Works run 2-yards.
• White intercepted by Lehman, through Clayton's hands.
• Incomplete out pattern (almost intercepted by Strait).
• Jones 1-yard run.
• Clayton 15-yard pass from White.
• Clayton dropped a fade route in end zone.
• White incomplete pass overthrows Jones in endzone after scrambling.

Second Team O vs. Second Team D (Red Zone)
• Thompson incomplete pass.
• Estus 2-yard run.
• Thompson incomplete pass.

New Series
• Estus 5-yard run.
• Thompson sacked by McGruder.
• Thompson incomplete overthrows Hickson.

Second Team O vs. Second Team D (Red Zone) • Allen 25-yard touchdown pass to Ataleo Ford.

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