PRACTICE REPORT: QB race still a four-man battle

Stoops not ready name leaders in the quarterback race; Alexander talks about his future at linebacker

NORMAN, Okla. – The Oklahoma football team, and quarterback Jason White, returned to the practice field on Wednesday and battled the most windy conditions they've faced this spring.

To paint a better picture for you, if the University of Texas had a scheduled spring workout under similar conditions Head Coach Mack Brown would have surely cancelled it or moved it to their indoor facility.

Regardless of the weather, Oklahoma went on with practice and used it as a chance to gauge how their quarterbacks could throw into and with the wind. The conditions clearly had an affect on all of the Sooner quarterbacks, but Brent Rawls and Jason White each managed to rise above and look the best of the group on Wednesday.

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops was asked after practice when he would make a decision to select the top quarterback contenders and give them more reps this spring.

"There's no reason to do that at this time," said Stoops. "At some point we will. We just don't need to do that at this point. All four guys deserve a shot right now and we don't feel like there's been enough separation to warrant people getting more snaps than others. I'm not saying that somebody is not playing better, but I'm not ready to say one guy is playing so much better than the others."

White, who was back at practice after sitting out Monday's workout, was back in full pads and went through every drill. And the day off seemed to help as White looked the best he has looked this spring throwing the ball and even scrambling well on a couple of occasions. White even ran two lead option plays and was able to keep the ball and beat the linebacker for what would have been a couple of 7-10 yard runs.

Rawls and White both had success throwing the ball today, especially into the wind. It's obvious that Rawls was able to adjust throwing into the wind better than the other quarterbacks because of his tremendous arm strength. He is able to make certain throws that the other QB's cannot make, and he did so again today hitting Brandon Jones with a perfect strike to his outside shoulder on a fabulous out pattern into the wind.

Paul Thompson continues to be steady, while Noah Allen still seems to have trouble throwing into double coverage. Thompson was the most active QB today in the pocket buying time and finding the open man.

The Sooners worked a lot on their short passing game and that gave tight ends James ‘Bubba' Moses and Chris Chester a chance to show what they can do along with running backs Kejuan Jones and Renaldo Works. Jones and Works have clearly steeped up to become No. 1 and No. 1A as far as the OU RB's are concerned. Works is having the best spring camp of his career and is catching the ball out of the backfield better than ever. Donta Hickson returned to practice Wednesday and dropped a potential touchdown pass in the endzone.

At receiver, Mark Clayton continues to impress looks like he'll could be developing into the Sooners' go-to receiver. Brandon Jones was also impressive again today.

On defense, senior linebacker Teddy Lehman was hobbled today with a muscle strain and was replaced by redshirt freshmen Rufus Alexander. The Oklahoma defensive coaches think Alexander is going to be a great player at OU and it's only a matter of time before he gets his chance.

Alexander says once he learns his assignments he will be hard to stop.

"I just have so much to learn on the assignments of the game," said Alexander. "I've got to learn where to line up when the running backs go in motion or a receiver lines up in the slot. If I line up wrong the defense lines up wrong. If I line up right, people can't beat us."

The Louisiana native also talked about his opportunity to take over at a linebacker that was once dominated by Butkus Award winner Rocky Calmus and current Butkus favorite Teddy Lehman.

"I certainly do realize what it takes to play this position," said Alexander. "I've had the opportunity to watch Rocky and Teddy, and it's unbelievable how they played that spot. I realize that they've put me here in great company. I personally feel I can handle it. It's a position where you can use your speed and athletic ability and that fits my style of play."

"I'm not big or bulky like Lance (Mitchell), Wayne (Chambers), Pasha (Jackson) or Russell (Dennison), and i'm not even as big as Teddy, but I think I have the speed and quickness to play it very well," Alexander continued. "I'm going to use this year to really learn the position and then I'll be ready to go next year."

The Sooners will resume practice on Friday at 3:45 p.m. and hold a scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m.

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