OU trying to fill gaps

Spring practice will be a chance for Sooners to find receivers, offensive line

After about a month-long break, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops took 30 minutes to address the media just hours before the start of spring practice.

Here are a few more points of note:

Take 1, again: Dual receiver coaches will help development of position

Oklahoma left a lot to be desired at the receiver position last year and had those problems exposed when junior Sterling Shepard missed significant time.

If the Sooners are going to properly run a pass-first offense, there will have to be extensive development from a position that barely averaged more than 10 yards per catch without Shepard and had just five touchdowns from receivers not wearing the No. 3.

So having two different coaches helping at the position, there should be a little bit of crossover.

“Realistically on different occasions, one (coach) may have the left side and one may take the right side while we’re in the middle of going fast in practice,” Stoops said. “When they get in the meeting rooms, it’s specifically inside receivers routes – here are the particulars. And outside guys – there are the particulars.”

Stoops mentioned Jordan Smallwood and Dallis Todd as specific players who have improved. Todd had a “great winter,” according to Stoops. JuCo transfer Dede Westbrook, who led the nation with 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns at Blinn College and finished second with 76 receptions, can play inside or outside, Stoops said. “He and John Humphrey have more explosive speed in there, other than Sterling, of anyone else,” Stoops said. “They’ve looked really good. With that speed, it’s different when you watch them, how well they run.”

Take 2, for the second time: New scheme will help a young offensive line:

Daryl Williams isn’t walking through that door. Tyrus Thompson is not lining up at left tackle. Adam Shead isn’t sizing up a linebacker on the second level.

With Nila Kasitati missing at least the start of spring practice, the Sooners have plenty of questions on the front five, and Stoops gave a quick rundown of who he liked the most> “Josiah St. John is really coming on. Derek Farniok, Christian Daimler, Kenyon Frison - Kenyon’s really been impressive – la one of the better young guys we’ve had in here,” Stoops said. “So, hopefully, he can continue to come on.”

Stoops also pointed to Jamal Danley as players who could help the new look offensive line, which will benefit from the new scheme.

It will be difficult to replicates last year’s nation-leading pass protection. The Sooners will pass far more often, but the scheme could make it easier on an offensive line that returns just two starters and will have three players who haven’t made a start.

“I think in this offense, that has a chance to be the case,” he said.

Take 3, well really closer to 6: Keeping an eye on the veterans

Stoops has no interest in seeing wide receiver Sterling Shepard play in any live-game situations during spring practice, and it’s not just him.

Kasitati is also being held out for a few practice, something Stoops wasn’t worried about Thursday.

“I’m always careful with seniors and guys that are back who have played a lot of football,” Stoops said. “. . I’ve done that always with seniors that are back that have played a ton of football or us on both side of the ball. I try to limit what they’re out there doing in live action and opportunities to get injured.”

Dominique Alexander will also miss all of spring practice.

“Not that you want everyone to be there,” Stoops said.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories