NORMAN, Okla. — After three years of waiting in the wings, Renaldo Works is finally going to get his chance.
The senior from Tulsa, Okla., who has patiently been waiting his turn to take over as OU's starting running back, was announced as a team captain before Saturday night's scrimmage and then he went out and was one of the lone standout performers with 84 yards rushing on 12 carries.
"I'll be the first guy to tell you Renaldo was great today," said Sophomore running back Kejuan Jones, who is battling Works for the starting tailback spot. "I think Renaldo has separated himself away from the rest of us. He's the perfect combination of what we're looking for. All of us need to start running as hard as Renaldo is running."
"That just warms my heart," said Works on Jones' comments. "I did have a good today, but I thought we all ran the ball well. I did get into a groove early. If I had a half of space in the offensive line I was able to fit through it."
Works started the game as OU's first team running back, but still alternated with Jones. Works had the best run of the night with a 42-yard scamper that took the Sooners to the 2-yard line. Works got the ball on the next play and scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Kejuan Jones' fumble on his first carry resulted in an 81-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Matt McCoy. But Jones rebounded and ran well after the fumble picking up 43 yards on nine carries.
"I did feel bad about it, and I was determined to not let my teammates down," said Jones on his fumble. "I had that wrist brace on and I took it off after that. Teddy (Lehman) barely touched me and the ball went flying. I just can't play with it. One bad fumble like that can cost us the season. I think I had a pretty good day after that."
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops wasn't too pleased with the Sooners' performance after the scrimmage, but he have some positives to say about OU's running game.
"There was a bunch of cameras out there today," said Stoops. "We were ranked No. 1 today, but tonight we may be 5th, 6th, 7th and maybe 10th after tonight. We made too many turnovers and we can't do that. The offense has to do better than that. We just didn't seem to have as much life as we had before."
"For the most part the running backs ran hard," Stoops continued. "It was just like any other scrimmage. We made plays on both sides of the ball, but today our defense came up with more big plays."
Senior quarterback Jason White, who has had a solid camp thus far during two-a-days, didn't fare so well Saturday night. White repeatedly threw into double coverage and only completed 9-of-18 passes for for 109 yards and was intercepted twice (by Teddy Lehman and Michael Thompson).
The night started on a great note for the senior from Tuttle when he rolled to his left and found JeJuan Rankins, who had slipped past Eric Bassey and Donte Nicholson down the sidelines for a 37-yard gain. White then hit J.D. Runnels on a screen pass for a 17-yard gain, but Jones' fumble later in the series to ended the drive. White would respond later in the scrimmage when he led the first team offense on a scoring drive against the first team defense, which was capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass over the middle to James Moses.
"Jason did okay today," said Stoops. "He tries to force some things and that's Jason's personality. That's not always a good thing for us, but at times he makes plays. I'm not going to get mad at him for trying to be a playmaker. Not all the turnovers were Jason's fault."
"Jason just needs snaps," Stoops continued. "We're in a dilemma here because we've got to get the other quarterbacks ready, but we also need to get Jason as many snaps as possible."
White agreed with Stoops.
"Reps are very important, but you can't give me every single rep," White said after the scrimmage. "The more reps I get the more comfortable I'll feel."
"I think I was a step slow today with my reads. On both the interceptions, if I had thrown the ball sooner they would have been for completions and probably big gains."
"We're pretty disappointed," said White on the performance of the offense. "We didn't execute like we need to. I know you're tired of hearing that from me every time something doesn't work, but you can't turn the ball over. We just seemed to be a step slow. I do think our running game did pretty well. Renaldo and Kejuan had big days."
Oklahoma's first team offense struggled to move the ball against the first team defense after the first drive. Most of the first team's offensive production came against the second team. Bob Stoops says even though OU's defense is one of the best in the nation, there is no reason why OU's offense shouldn't be able to move the ball on them.
"I'm not going to let our guys off the hook like that," said Stoops.. "There are times when other teams move the ball against our defense, so we should move the ball against our defense. If we didn't turn the ball over to our defense I wouldn't be sitting here telling you it was a so-so scrimmage."
"Sure, we did a good job of run blocking," said junior center Vince Carter. " But pass blocking we weren't as consistent as we needed to be. This is a just a matter of getting more reps and getting more things going."
On the flip side, junior tackle Tommie Harris was pleased with defensive effort.
"I think we held our own and did pretty well today," said Harris. "Our offense is good, so you're going to give up a few plays. We'd like to say we shut them out, but that's not going to be the case all the time. I'm disappointed that Renaldo and Kejuan got a few runs on us."
Stoops announces captains
In addition to Renaldo Works, OU Head Coach Bob Stoops announced that Jason White, Teddy Lehman, Derrick Strait, Kory Klein and Tommie Harris were elected by the team as team captains for the 2003 season.
"I can't believe my teammates believe that much of me," said Works on being named a captain. "I never expected to be named team captain. It's the greatest honor thus far in my life. We're all a family, and they're just telling me I'm a big brother. I don't say much, but I do try to work hard and I never miss a workout. I guess they appreciate that. I want to let them know I appreciate them more than they could every appreciate me."
OU began the scrimmage with the following players starting: Jason White at QB, Renaldo Works at RB, JeJuan Rankins, Brandon Jones and Mark Clayton at WR, James Moses at TE, Vince Carter at C, Wes Sims and Jammal Brown at T, and Kelvin Chaisson and Davin Joseph at G. OL Chris Bush, RB Kejuan Jones, TE Lance Donley, WRs Travis Wilson and Marcus Johnson also saw work with the first team.
Sophomore Paul Thompson received the bulk of the snaps with the second team and some spot work with the first team. Thompson was the most impressive Sooner QB on Saturday as he went 12-for-22 and threw three touchdown passes. Thompson hooked up with freshman walk-on fullback Dan Townsend for a 4-yard score, tight end Chris Chester for a 9-yard TD pass and lofted a beautiful 14-yard pass to Donta Hickson out of the backfield. Thompson also looked very effective running the ball and scrambling.
Townsend was the surprise of the scrimmage as the big guy caught a total of three passes for 29 yards and looked good doing it. Townsend could emerge as J.D. Runnels' backup at fullback before it's all said and done.
As for Hickson, the sophomore running back took most of the snaps as OU's jumbo running back and showed why he just might lock up the position. Hickson carried the ball 6 times for 22 yards and always seemed to be bouncing off someone and emerging from the pile for extra yardage.
Noah Allen came in for one series and completed two of his three pass attempts for 15 yards. Brent Rawls did not get any snaps and spent most of his time on the sideline wearing a headset and motioning in the plays to the other OU quarterbacks.
True freshmen Joe John Finley got some work with the first team and made the most of his chance when he leveled defensive end Calvin Thibodeaux near the sideline while blocking downfield after a screen pass.
Wide receiver's Will Peoples and Ataleo Ford did not scrimmage.
The starters for Oklahoma's first team defense were as follows: Kory Klein and Dusty Dvoracek at DT, Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson at DE, Teddy Lehman and Lance Mitchell at LB, Derrick Strait and Eric Bassey at CB, Donte Nicholson and Matt McCoy at S and Brodney Pool as the fifth defensive back. DE Larry Birdine, DTs Tommie Harris and Lynn McGruder and CB Jowahn Poteat also saw extended time with the first team.
Mark Bradley, Antonio Perkins, Brandon Everage, Wayne Chambers, Clint Ingram and Rufus Alexander did not scrimmage.
Michael Thompson spent most of his time at safety where he intercepted a Jason White pass and had the hit of the night when he popped Lance Donley just as he was stretching out for a pass over the middle.
Jowahn Poteat led the Sooners with six tackles and backup safety Jason Carter added four. Jonathan Jackson continued his great spring with two sacks. Teddy Lehman forced Kejuan Jones' fumble, which led to McCoy's fumble return for touchdown, and also intercepted Jason White off a tipped pass.
Freshman defensive tackle Carl Pendleton was injured, but OU Head Coach Bob Stoops said after practice that the status of the injury was still unknown at the time.
If Saturday night's punt drill was any indication of who is going to be the man, then it is going to be Blake Ferguson. Ferguson looked very good punting the ball on his three attempts, while freshman Cody Freeby only received one punt to show his stuff. Ferguson averaged 44.7 yards on his three attempts while Freeby's punt went 37 yards. Sophomore kicker Trey DiCarlo hit 1-of-2 from 50 yards, but missed both attempts from 57-yards out.
Bob Stoops decided to end the scrimmage on a sour note, rather than a good note, after true freshman defensive tackle Steven Coleman and unidentified offensive lineman were going at each other like George Foreman and Larry Holmes following an incomplete Noah Allen pass.
The Sooners will get Sunday off before returning to the practice fields again on Monday.
Renaldo Works 12-18, Kejuan Jones 9-43, Donta Hickson 6-22, Jerad Estus 4-19, Tashard Choice 1-2, Jacob Gutierrez 2-19.
Jason White 9-18-109 (1 TD, 2 INT) Paul Thompson 12-22-108 (3 TD), Noah Allen 2-3-15.
Townsend 3-29 (3 yd TD), Travis Wilson 3-22, Donta Hickson 2-26 (14 yd TD), James Moses 2-20 (13 yd TD), Willie Roberts 2-15, Marcus Johnson 2-14, Jejuan Rankins 1-37, Kejuan Jones 1-25, J.D. Runnels 1-17, Sadiki Wilson 1-13, Chris Chester 1-9 (9 yd TD), Jerad Estus 1-9, Brandon Jones 1-3, Renaldo Works 1-(-3), Jacob Gutierrez 1-(-4).
Strait 1, Shelby 2 (deflection), J.Carter 4 (deflection) Nicholson 3, Mitchell 2, Lehman 4 (forced fumble) (interception) L. Baker 3, M. Thompson 4 (interception), Poteat 6, Pool 3, Richardson 1, Cade 3, McCoy 2 (fumble recovery 81 yard touchdown run) (deflection), D. Williams- 1 (2 deflections) G. Allen 2, J. Jackson 3 (2 sacks) (safety), Pleasant 2, P. Jackson 2, Hurst 1, Thibodeaux 4 (sack), Pendleton 1, Helvey 1 (sack), Cody- 1 (sack), Dotson 1, Dvoracek 1, McGruder 1, J. Williams 1 (sack), Sublet 1.
Stats courtes of SoonerSports.com.
Works steps up in second scrimmage
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