NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma football team returned to the practice fields on Monday to begin their third week of spring workouts, but one player stood noticeably on the sidelines.
Senior quarterback Jason White, who was cleared for action nearly 10 days ago, did not dress out in full pads and did not practice with the other quarterbacks. White was at practice, but was dressed in shorts and his light blue No. 18 jersey.
Oklahoma Quarterback Coach and Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long commented on White's status after practice.
"We just decided to hold him out," said Long. "Nothing is wrong. It's just a precautionary measure. He was healthy enough to practice and he wanted to practice."
"When you scrimmage you torque your body and ligaments more than you do when you just go through a practice. We just wanted to hold him out because we think it will be best for him in the longrun."
With White out that meant more reps for OU's other three quarterbacks. Brent Rawls was the first quarterback to take snaps in every drill followed by Noah Allen and Paul Thompson. But regardless of that order, all three got an equal amount of reps and each worked with both the first and second team evenly.
Rawls and Thompson seemed to stand out moreso than Allen, but that was because they didn't do anything to really beat themselves. Allen threw two interceptions, fumbled one snap and had two passes batted down. However, Allen's second interception was one of the best throws of the day. Travis Wilson wide open on the sideline 40-yards down field when Allen hit him in stride but the Wilson bobbled the catch and a closing Donte Nicholson picked it off.
Rawls and Thompson were really steady and both made excellent reads and their share of great throws. They also didn't try to force any passes if it wasn't there and scrambled wisely.
Bob Stoops even got into the quarterback battle during one of the quarterback drills. The OU quarterbacks have a drill where they stand a certain amount of yards back from a net with different colored shapes on it in different spots. The QB's take the snap and when they drop back Long will yell the color or shape of the target they're supposed to hit. Well, Stoops decided to loosen up his arm with one circular swing, stepped up and threw a one-hopper which drew nothing but dirt and then air. Stoops promptly left with a razzing or two from some of the QB's.
"Practice is going real good," said Long. "We're getting a lot of progress out of our quarterbacks. We are adding some new wrinkles, and we like how those wrinkles are coming along."
Among the new wrinkles is a package of play-action passes out of the shotgun two-back and one-back sets. Rawls was able to hit Mark Clayton deep today for a score in the team blitz drills on one of those new plays. OU is also looking to throw to the backs more out of the backfield and worked on that a bunch today with Kejuan Jones and Renaldo Works getting most of the work. Donta Hickson did not practice, but seemed to be walking fine on the sidelines.
On offense today the standouts were Clayton and tight end James Moses. Clayton seemed to be open all day over the middle in the pass skell and team blitz drill against a full defense, and he he got loose deep several times and on along the sidelines. Moses, who is in the mode of a bigger, strogner tight end than Trent Smith, was impressive today getting open over the middle and making several nice catches. Brandon Jones showed up late after finishing up with baseball practice, but quickly made his presence felt with several excellent catches. In all, the Sooners' wide receiver corp looked outstanding today and got the best of the defensive backs for the most part.
On defense there was no doubt the man today was today was Brodney Pool. Pool made a great play down field to pick off a bad ball thrown by Noah Allen. Pool was back-peddling to help out Antonio Perkins in a cover two set and leaped and pulled down the ball. Pool also seems to have a knack blitzing off the edge as he batted down one pass and forced Noah Allen to pull back a pass and scramble on another play.
Bob Stoops has been impressed so far with the play of juco safety Donte Nicholson today and the California product still continues to get a lot of teaching from Mike Stoops. Stoops had 'constructive criticism' for Nicholson several times today even though he made the play. Nicholson is still learning the system, but his outstanding athletic ability and instincts still allow him to make up for his mistakes and still get the job done. When he puts it together... watch out.
At the beginning of practice Oklahoma worked a lot on kickoffs and punt returns. Both Trey DiCarlo and Pete Cuva were impressive in kicking the ball off into the end zone on just about every attempt.
Antonio Perkins and Travis Wilson were the first two kick returners today followed by Mark Bradley and JeJuan Rankins, while Antonio Perkins and Mark Clayton returned punts.
The Sooners will practice again on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
PRACTICE REPORT: White gets day off
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