We continue our series on the Sooners freshmen redshirt players or players that are just now getting an opportunity.
Fred Fleeks, Gabe Toomey, Russell Dennison and Clint Ingram.
Coach Brent Venables:
They are a great group of guys in regards to their attitude and the way they work. They have really become a close group, which really makes it fun for a coach to work with a group of guys that know each other faults and how to keep things loose. In regards to their ability, they have been doing an awfully good job of picking up our defense. For the most part, they are still coming on in that regard as a group. There is going to be somebody out of the guys that are hear with our current recruiting class or last year's recruiting class that are going to have to help us. They are going to have to help us a bunch at linebacker and on special teams. I am interested in seeing how they battle it out in the spring.
JH: Could you describe each players individual abilities?
Venables: Fred Fleeks likes contact. Sometimes he is not going in the right direction, but he is going to strike somebody. Freddy is the hitter of the group. Clint Ingram is the big body guy, who is still learning how to control his body out in space. He is always looking for the knockout hit as well. He can really run and his best football is front of him. Ingram is still learning the game and he is really attacking the weight room in a great way. I am excited about his future. Gabe Toomey is probably the most instinctive of the linebackers. Due to a number of different minor injuries he has been kept out of practice and out of the weight room some, so he has come catching up to do. Russell Dennison is very rangy and he is working to learn a couple different positions. He has long arms and long legs and can really run. Russell has a super attitude and has a great, great motor and really sets the tempo for the rest of the young guys in the way they work and approach the practice field.
JH: Is it to early to tell what position each player will play?
Venables: Right now it is still up in the air. The early thought is that Fleeks and Toomey would play Calmus' position. Ingram is in the middle and Dennison is outside. All of them have played all three positions. Until we can get into the spring and start scrimmaging and find out where every guys niche is, and where they lineup, it still remains to be seen.
KeJuan Jones, Donta Hickson and Larry Pinson.
Coach Cale Gundy:
I have been very impressed with all of them, especially the two freshmen. I hear nothing but good things from our defensive coaches who see our young running backs on the scout team every day against their defense. Both are very hard workers and both of them compete in very competitive spirit. They both have great quickness, speed and power. Donta has excellent hands, so we are very excited about the future. I am very excited to have them.I was out on the practice field recently going through some drills with them and I couldn't help but think that I have some great talent here. They both have a lot of speed and both can make plays. We just need to get that great athletic ability out of them.
JH: Because they are working on scout team are they getting to work in your offense much?
Gundy: A little bit of both. They meet me twice a week and they meet with our scout team coaches twice a week. Every Monday and Tuesday night we have scrimmages with our younger player. I have always told them from day one that they need to learn our offense now. When spring ball comes around they want to give themselves the best opportunity to compete and knowing the offense, the calls and how to execute and help them a great deal. They won't have to be learning the offense in the spring, instead they can go out and compete.
JH: Tell us about Jones?
Gundy: He is very compact and very explosive. KeJuan has great power, good speed and quickness. He is somebody that in being just 5'8 or 5'9, weighs 195 pounds and he will run into you like he weighs 250 pounds. KeJuan loves the game and he loves contact. He has good hands, but needs to improve in that area of his game in the spring.
JH: What about Hickson?
JH: How about Larry Pinson?
Gundy: Larry is a young man who transferred here from the University of Minnesota. He was a scholarship player up there as a true freshman before transferring down here. Larry has great size and works extremely hard in the weight room. On the practice field, he wants to play very well. Larry gives us some size and some athleticism at the h-back position. Now, to be able to play the h-back position we are going to have to teach him some things, because he comes from a tailback position. He has to learn to be more physical as a blocker and as a pass protector. When you put the ball in his hands he will run you over, but he has to learn the other aspects of the position.
Brandon Jones, Will Peoples and Ataleo Ford:
Coach Steve Spurrier Jr.:
Brandon looks good and has really done a good job. What he needs is an opportunity like Mark Clayton got to get in the lineup and show what he can do. He needs an opportunity to get in there and perform. I am hoping that he gets that opportunity, because he is a young man with a lot of potential and his day will come. Brandon is an excellent player for this program.
JH: What kind of receiver is Brandon?
Spurrier: He is capable of doing everything. Our offense is not necessarily a deep threat kind of offense. Brandon is a big, strong bodied young man and he has incredible hands. He is really capable of doing about everything. Look for him to be a guy that is a guy who is excellent at catching screens, making people miss him and running people over. He also does a really good job when the ball is in the air deep and going up and grabbing it.
JH: Jones and Peoples are big and physical. How does that help them as receivers?
Spurrier: Football every year becomes a bigger, stronger and faster game. Then you look at guys like Mark Clayton who is one of our best receivers right now and he may be the smallest guy on our team. There is something to be said for guys who are small, quick and elusive, and of course there is something to be said about Will Peoples and Brandon Jones who are big, physical, strong guys who are really going to be durable for us. The combination of both of sizes is really good at wide receiver.
JH: What do you have in Will Peoples?
Spurrier: Will is also a big-bodied guy, who is strong and is pretty quick. He is another young man like Brandon who is waiting for an opportunity to prove what he can do. He is doing well on special teams and getting an opportunity to play. He is another young man that is waiting for an opportunity at wide receiver and you are going to see him on the field before too long.
JH: Can both of them run the routes that you are looking for?
Spurrier: They aren't bad and they will certainly get better. They are smart young men and they are getting better all the time.
JH: What is the status of Ataleo Ford?
Spurrier: A young man that needs to get a little strong and get some confidence. He is talented young man. Right now he is not getting an opportunity to do to much, but in the talks that I have had with him, he does really well
in pass skell and one-on-one drills. If he can get a little stronger and a little more confident in how he plays he should be guy that can play for us. He is healthy now after struggling early.
Fabulous Freshmen Part II: LB's, RB's and WR's
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