Oklahoma’s basketball season isn’t in the books just yet, but the football team returns to practice this week after enjoying spring break.
Only one week of practice knocked out, here are some news and notes regarding what we learned in the short period of time.
Baker Mayfield has trimmed up, for sure, and the Sooners seem content to have true freshman Austin Kendall as his backup for the 2016 season. If Mayfield and Kendall make it out of spring fully healthy, only success needed.
With Samaje Perine not fully participating because of ankle surgery, this is the chance for Joe Mixon to step up and take on a bigger role. It will also be an opportunity for redshirt freshman Rodney Anderson to get back into the swing of things. Anderson said he is 100 percent healthy once again.
Opportunities galore, it’s simply a question of who is going to grab that brass ring. In talking with Michiah Quick and Jeffery Mead, it seems like the 2014 crop of receivers are ready to make their imprint on the program. They’ve had moments, they’ve watched guys like Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal, now it’s their time. A whole bunch in the mix and some fresh blood such as graduate transfer Geno Lewis from Penn State. One to watch throughout spring and summer workouts.
Mark Andrews was a nice piece to the OU puzzle in 2015, and he’s going to take on an even bigger role this season. Why? Well, we heard Bob Stoops say just that. Andrews feels like that one weapon no opposing team has an answer for.
Another major storyline of spring will be with the offensive line. The question is flipped from last year where it was all about the tackles. This year? It’s all about the interior. Orlando Brown and Dru Samia are holding down the fort at tackle. Jonathan Alvarez is moving from guard to center, but who’s going to be on his right and his left? Early returns suggest redshirt freshman Cody Ford and senior Jamal Danley will be in the running, but no way of knowing for sure how it will all play out.
Calvin Thibodeaux enters his first year on the job with a talented group. From retuning guys like Charles Walker, Matthew Romar and Matt Dimon to guys on the cusp like Neville Gallimore and Du’Vonta Lampkin. This is not a sore spot when it comes to the Sooners in 2016.
Seventy-five percent of last year’s guys are gone. Tay Evans seems in line to take the place of Dominique Alexander and be joined in the middle by senior Jordan Evans. Outside? Good luck. Between Ricky DeBerry, Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo and linebackers that won’t arrive until June, your guess is as good as ours.
Jordan Thomas has one spot locked down, and it feels like a heated competition between senior Dakota Austin and sophomore P.J. Mbanasor for the other. Austin has the competitive drive to make up for his lack of size, but Mbanasor has the complete package if he puts it all together.
No questions. Relax. Steven Parker and Ahmad Thomas have it locked down with guys like Will Sunderland and Kahlil Haughton waiting in the wings.
Austin Seibert will be the guy kicking and punting although not sure of kickoffs just yet. Alex Ross is still your kick returner, but the door is open for anybody to make a statement as the punt returner.
The Sooners will practice the next three weeks before culminating with the annual Red-White spring game 2 p.m. CST on April 9.