Maturity the word of the day for Sooners

Whether it's incoming freshmen or seniors, OU coaches stressed maturity from their players at media day.

If you had to sum up Oklahoma media day in one word, it would be maturity. The coaches preached it. The players touched on it. It's something the program feels good about for this year's group.

But in maturity there are different elements of it. For the freshmen, it's about coming in and doing things the right way. Having a mature attitude.

For the upperclassmen, it's about maturing as a leader to help guide the younger guys on and off the field.

And for some, it's about maturing so the light bulb finally comes on and they start playing to their potential.

The poster boy for maturity in 2013 could wind up being senior running back Roy Finch. That running back label feels nice for Finch as he knows what his role is for this year's team. Last year that wasn't always the case.

"A year ago Roy bounced around a lot at this time between running back and wide receiver," OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. "For one reason or another, he wasn't playing to his potential."

This year is different, Heupel said. He said Finch has matured on and off the field. He is dedicated to doing all the little things it will take to get back on the field. Heupel also snuck in the fact Finch is a lot more focused and serious about his grades.

Fans were hopeful of Finch having a big 2012, but most fans were downright giddy about what wide receiver Trey Metoyer was going to do. Again, it didn't really pan out for Metoyer during his redshirt freshman season.

OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell has never been known as one to give up on people, and he certainly hasn't thrown in the towel with Metoyer.

"I see him as more mature with a lot more focus this year," Norvell said. "But to start here, you have got to have that trust 100 percent of the time. The success wasn't coming to him like he thought it would. He was frustrated."

Norvell said Metoyer is doing all the right things, but he hesitated to heap more praise because Metoyer will have to show consistency on the practice field this month and in games this season.

And then there's true freshman safety Hatari Byrd. Labeled as a safety, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was quick to point out Byrd has played safety, nickelback and dime back in the first three days of practice.

It still remains to be seen, but Byrd and freshman Ahmad Thomas are both playing their way into the conversation. OU coach Bob Stoops said Byrd and Thomas have worked their way into OU's two-deep roster.

"Hatari has shown great maturity," Mike Stoops said. "He's right on track for where he needs to be."

Stoops doesn't name starting QB

Not a shock at all, but Bob Stoops did not name a starting quarterback at media day. The race is still open between Blake Bell and Trevor Knight.

He did give an update on sophomore quarterback Kendal Thompson. Stoops said the procedure to Thompson's right foot was a success. He said he expects Thompson to miss six weeks but added it could be less. Thompson fractured his foot during Thursday's practice.

Stoops was pressed more on the quarterback situation and said he is not worried about how things are progressing. He said he has no target date on when he will announce his starting quarterback and will do it when they are 100 percent convinced they have found their guy.


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