And just like that, Oklahoma’s spring game has arrived. Less than three weeks since beginning camp, the Sooners are ready for the Red-White game 1 p.m. CST Saturday.
If you’re looking for new wrinkles to the offense and defense, stop. If you’re wondering how guys like Baker Mayfield are going to perform, it’s not the game for you.
Hard to gauge too much from a spring game, but there are opportunities for several players to showcase exactly what they can do in a competitive environment.
Sooners Illustrated looks at five players whose Saturday might mean a little bit more than others.
RB Abdul Adams
For one thing, he’s going to get tackled. With Rodney Anderson wearing a non-contact green jersey, it will give Adams a lot of opportunities to display what he can do and how he has improved since his true freshman season. Adams had a great scrimmage last week, finding the end zone on two occasions. All reports have said he’s bigger and faster than he was as a freshman, and he wants to make sure he doesn’t get left behind in what will be a crowded, though inexperienced, running back room.
“He’s been our most consistent guy. He is one of the most improved – of all the guys who returned last year – thus far in camp. I’ve been happy with his improvement and his consistency. At times he played a little tight last year as he was trying to figure it all out. He just seems more loose and you see more of his true athletic ability right now.” – offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley
WR Marquise Brown
OK, all the jokes about him being 148 pounds are old at this point, but OK, now let’s see why all his teammates and coaches are saying his weight is not a factor. Like Adams, Brown scored two touchdowns in last week’s scrimmage. He’s known for his blazing speed, and when you give yourself the “jet” moniker, you better live up to it. Brown could be a game-changer for OU in that speed department, and Saturday could be the first taste.
“He really does (have uncanny speed). He might be faster than Dede. It’s kinda hard to tell right now. Don’t tell Dede I just said that. He’ll call me later. But they’re very similar, explosive-type receivers.” – quarterback Baker Mayfield
DE/OLB Mark Jackson
With Ogbonnia Okoronkwo missing the entire spring, a lot of focus has been put on Jackson as he tries to make that sophomore leap. Jackson is a bigger version of Eric Striker, but he’s not as big as guys like Okoronkwo or mid-year enrollee Addison Gumbs. Jackson faring well in run situations will be crucial to helping him get on the field. Jackson is a dynamic pass rusher, but he’s going to need to be more than a one-trick pony to see significant time for the Sooners.
ILB Jon-Michael Terry
Perhaps overlooked for the 2016 class because of his incredibly quiet demeanor, Terry became a name to circle back on signing day 2016 because Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops could not stop talking about his potential and his character. That day has arrived for OU fans to get a feel of what Terry is all about. With the inside linebacker spot up for grabs, Terry could be a redshirt freshman starter. He doesn’t seem overwhelmed at the moment and has added a lot of good weight since last year.
“He’s doing really well. He’s a physical guy with a lot of range to him and explosiveness and it’s just getting comfortable in there with all the reads and he’s coming along really, pretty well. That whole group is. He’s light years ahead of where he was.” – head coach Bob Stoops
CB Parnell Motley
The No. 1 freshman-to-sophomore transformation seems to be occurring in the secondary with defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks and senior cornerback Jordan Thomas praising Motley’s development numerous times. Motley has been around the ball all spring and has pushed Thomas and Jordan Parker at the corner spot. No idea if he’ll unseat them, but that’s fantastic news as Cooks and the Sooners continue to try to build championship depth across all positions.
“That kid is having a great spring. Hell, he might be better than me before it's all said and done. I like his game. I love his game. He's a competitor. He has heart. More heart than I've seen in a long time. “ – cornerback Jordan Thomas