The Oklahoma Sooners concluded two-a-days Thursday with a short workout in shorts. The Sooners will go to one practice per day starting on Friday (8/17) at 9:45 a.m. inside Oklahoma's Memorial Stadium. Practices are now closed to the public.
This morning the offense became Nate Hybl's offense and that was never more evident Thursday as Hybl took all of the snaps with the first unit and 85 percent of the total work at quarterback.
Hybl looked sharp for the most part, throwing outstanding out-routes, post routes and hitting his running backs in stride. Hybl only threw a handful of bad balls during the entire 90-minute practice.
The fact that Hybl doesn't make many mistakes and plays with consistency won him the job.
"Right now we felt Nate has earned the position because of the way he has practiced during double-sessions," said Sooner Head Coach Bob Stoops. "His play in team situations, his pass skills, his seven-on-seven situation and work in the scrimmages all contributed to our decision. We feel that Nate has earned that spot at this point, but what has been good about it is that he didn't earn it through Jason or anyone else playing poorly. He earned it through excellent work, because Jason has had a great camp as well and that is very positive situation."
"We took into account — leadership in the huddle and team chemistry — and both of those guys do a great job of that," Stoops continued. "I think overall Nate has been a little more consistent and had fewer bad plays, though neither one of them has had many of them. I think that it's been positive. You watch all of our scrimmages and all our practices and I don't know that either one of them has had a real bad day. So, that is all positive. We just felt that through all the practices from spring up until now that Nate has earned that spot."
Both quarterbacks were complimentary towards the other, but it was evident that both now had new roles on the football team.
"Practice and my role on the team definitely has a different feeling to it," said Hybl. "Now it is just very important to focus on next week. Jason and I have gone through a lot this camp and it turned out how it turned out. Now, it's on to Carolina and I am really excited about that. It feels different because I know I am not going to get pulled out in the middle of a rep. I am hanging around the guys all throughout practice and that will help us grow as a unit. That is really the only difference in practice now and what it was."
"I feel the coaches had to come out and make a decision," said White. "They have to get somebody ready for the game. They evaluated the tapes and decided on Nate and I support the coach's decision. I just want him and everybody to know that I am going to keep pushing him and pushing him throughout the season. I am not going to go away."
Mangino re-shuffles deck
While the quarterback spot is now settled, the offensive line may not be close. Today, Offensive Coordinator Mark Mangino continued to tinker with the line as veteran guard Mike Skinner missed practice because of knee injury.
Redshirt freshman Wes Sims has moved from right tackle to left guard, while senior left guard Howard Duncan moves out to right tackle. Josh Smith is back center and seems to be holding up well and Frank Romero is anchored at left tackle.
With Skinner out, Chike Ozumba received the majority of work at right guard, with senior Will Mathis spelling him at times.
"We are still looking for the right combination, but I feel we are making progress," said Mangino. "We have some players that are getting better and improving each and every day, but we are still a little way off yet. However, I have a good feeling that we will find the right chemistry and going together in a way that we will be successful."
"Will is a senior that is itching to play. He still has issues with his fundamentals that he needs to work out," Mangino continued. "Chike is learning on the run here, just having only spent two weeks as an offensive lineman. He is getting a little better everyday and I am excited about both of them."
Sims had been the starter at right tackle the entire spring, but at times has struggled in pass protection. The former prep All-American is happy to give guard a try.
"Right tackle wasn't working out for me to well and Howard has always been good at right tackle, so we just switched positions," said Sims. "It feels real comfortable. I have never played anything but right tackle before, but it just seems to have come to me at right guard. I have learned most of the assignments at right guard and for the most part already knew the assignments. It's just the opposite of what I did on my side and I just put two-and-two together for the most part."
The second team offensive line for the most part had Kelvin Chaisson at left tackle, Jammal Brown at left guard, Vince Carter at center, Mathis or Chris Bush at right guard and Jarrod Barclay at right tackle.
Junior defensive lineman Juan Prishker returned to drills in the defensive line, which provided a big boost for the unit. When healthy, Prishker can be a force at defensive tackle and he is an outstanding pass rusher. Prishker certainly is among the top five defensive tackles and if he can go against North Carolina the Sooners might be able to redshirt Dusty Dvorazcek.
Brandon Everage continues to nurse a sprained ankle giving Terrance Simms an opportunity to work at free safety. There is a growing concern that Everage is not going to be ready for North Carolina, however he is paying attention to all team work and certainly knows his assignments if the anchor allows him to play.
Andre Woolfolk worked at wide receiver on Thursday, leaving redshirt freshman Antonio Perkins to work at cornerback.
Special teams take shape
The Sooners worked a lot on special teams and they will field a very athletic kick coverage team. Derrick Strait, Damian Mackey, Perkins, Teddy Lehman, Gayron Allen, Brian Odom, Josh Norman, Lance Donley and Woolfolk made up the top unit today with Tim Duncan kicking the ball consistently in the end zone.
Sooners complete two-a-days with Hybl at QB
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