Positive Energy Defines First Bowl Practice

TEMPE, Ariz. — OU could easily be going through the motions and moping around after dropping to the Insight Bowl from its preseason national championship aspirations.

But that just isn't the case.

The Sooners hit the practice fields for the first time at Corona Del Sol High School Monday afternoon in preparation for the bowl game, and the attitude and intensity was positive.

"Had a really good practice," said head coach Bob Stoops. "Guys went hard in full pads. We did well."

Co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who has been working around injuries at key positions for a large part of the regular season, said the group even came back with more intensity than before their few days off for Christmas.

"Today was good," Heupel said. "It's amazing you get a three or four day break, whatever it's been and, you know, for the most part the chemistry, rhythm, timing and all that wasn't too bad. Some mistakes that would think probably would happen because you were gone for a few days. But the energy, effort and those types of things were really good, and the legs were good."

On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Brent Venables also liked what he saw.

"Good, we had a good number of practices before we left as well in preparation," Venables said. "So, had good practices then our guys picked it up really where we left off, so it really was a good day."

So, it's true their multiple dreams were shattered.

The National Championship is out.

Likewise for the Big 12 Title.

But that doesn't mean this group isn't approaching the week as a great chance to right some of the wrongs this year.

"Great, it's awesome to be out here," said wide receiver Kenny Stills. "We're excited to be out here, and you know, excited for the opportunity to be in a bowl game."

"Oh, I mean, it was a beautiful day," said linebacker Tom Wort. "Everyone was excited, excited to go. So, I mean, really good start to the week and look forward to the rest of it."

"It was pretty good today, actually," said quarterback Landry Jones. A lot of energy, everybody was flying around, so it went pretty well today. I was pretty pleased with it."

And multiple players said their outlook on the bowl game is at least it allows them an opportunity to play in a bowl game and mesh more as a team heading into 2012.

It also gives them a chance to get their 10th victory, yet again.

Not all bad for a team who's had only negative things taking place as of late.

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