OU moving forward, back to practice

After a two-week absence, the Sooners were back on the practice field Monday.

At Oklahoma, it’s always about the crimson and cream. But there’s a new color to implement into things, at least for this spring football season.

Black.

The football dressed in all black as part of a silent demonstrations two weeks ago, and the offensive players wore black practice jerseys Monday as the Sooners had their first practice since a racial chant video went viral created by a former OU fraternity.

“It was a little different,” center Ty Darlington said. “Especially because the black jersey is pretty tight on me. But it was also pretty exciting. It’s more than just a football practice, you know. Hopefully that won’t fade away.”

OU canceled two practices two weeks ago following the video from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity that nearly divided the team, said Darlington. The university took its action by disbanding the fraternity and expelling the two students prominently featured in the video.

The OU football team took its stance two weeks ago by not practicing. The mission hasn’t changed, and it will be all about the awareness of racism and discrimination going forward. But it’s also time to get back to work.

“They were excited to practice,” coach Bob Stoops said. “It’s what they do. They all went out and really had a good day.”

Stoops said the team will find a way to makeup both of the lost practices. It looks like both of those will happen in April. Stoops mentioned possibly practicing Saturday morning of Easter weekend and tacking on another practice after the spring game. OU was already scheduled to have at least one practice after the Red-White game April 11.

Monday was another step toward normalcy for the team as all have agreed that it’s time to start focusing on the 2015 season.

“It felt good,” linebacker Eric Striker said. “It’s all in our blood, this game, we love it. We went around and talked trash. Getting work done and doing it together as one. It felt good. We needed it.”

Because of the cancellations, Monday marked only OU’s second practice of the spring. Stoops said the team will begin wearing full pads Wednesday and Friday and plan to have a 60-play scrimmage or so Saturday to wrap up the week.

The focus will be back on X’s and O’s, the massive influx of new coaches and the style they’re going to bring to the table. But the message lives on, and the fight to raise the awareness of racism and discrimination won’t go away.

“When these types of things happen, people get really excited about it, emotional about it for a couple of days maybe even a couple of weeks,” Darlington said. “But then the passion goes away, and the change doesn’t always happen like you would have wanted it to. We want to continue to promote the awareness.”

The captains of the team are expected to meet with OU president David Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione on Tuesday, and cornerback Zack Sanchez said they have a lot of ideas they want to bring to the table on how to help promote the cause more and how to integrate themselves more with the students on campus.



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