Spring Football Practice Report (4/7)

Bob Stoops, Chuck Long and Clint Ingram talk about Wednesday's practice. The Sooners are set to scrimmage at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma Football team worked out indoors at the Everest Training Center Wednesday in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads in preparation for Thursday's scrimmage.

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops said after practice that the Sooners will begin stretching at 4 p.m. on Thursday and then run special teams and pass skelly drills until 4:30 before beginning the scrimmage.

Below is a position-by-position look at the highlights from Wednesday's practice.

QUARTERBACK
Jason White looked every bit of the Heisman Trophy winner he is on Wednesday in the pass and goal line skelly drills.

White had a great day, and connected on a couple of touchdown passes with JeJuan Rankins in the goal line pass skelly portion of practice.

"Jason had a great day throwing the ball today," said Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long. "Jason has told me that his arm feels better than ever, and I think it shows. He's got tremendous zip on the ball. I think Jason is more healthy at this point than he has ever been in his career. And he'll be even more healthy in the fall."

"Jason's had a great spring," said Stoops. "He has thrown the ball well everyday. I don't know if today was any better than the rest because they're all good. Jason throws a deep ball better than any quarterback I've ever seen. Obviously, he's real good with his passes."

Also impressive in the goal line pass skell drill was Paul Thompson, who hit Brandon Jones on one play with a great out route.

"In this drill the quarterbacks have a limited package in that working with," said Long on the goal line pass skelly drill. "And because the space is shorter, they really have to be on target. If they're going to throw to an area the receiver and quarterback have to be on the same page.

"I think Paul has really improved in this area, and I've always thought Jason was really good in this area. When the receiver breaks open the ball has to be there. If you are a second late or a little off target, you're in trouble. It helps in this drill to if the receivers are physical and can shoot the gap to get open, and we have both types here."

RUNNING BACK
KeJuan Jones continues to run hard and work as the Sooners' No. 1 back. Jones had another productive practice today, and is still showing his improved speed and quickness at times. Fullback J.D. Runnels had a good day catching the ball out of the backfield.

WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
If you had to pick a star of the receivers today, it would have to be JeJuan Rankins, who caught two touchdown passes from White in the goal line skelly drill. Will Peoples also made a great catch when he fought off Eric Bassey, who had blanket coverage, for a tough catch.

OU's tight ends continue to get a lot of work, and all three had great days today catching the ball over the middle in the team blitz and two minute drill portions of practice.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Chris Chester continues to work with the first team at center with Carter and Reid out. OU's second team line today consisted of Chris Messner and Akim Millington at the tackles, Brett Rayl and J.D. Quinn at the guards and John Flynn at center.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Wednesday was another day for the usual suspects to shine. Dan Cody had a great day and was tough to handle for OU's offensive tackles, but their aren't many offensive tackles in the country who will be able to handle him.

Lawrence Dampeer also continues to impress and batted down one Paul Thompson pass while filling in for Lynn McGruder on the first team. McGruder was held out of a majority of the team portions during today's practice with a minor injury.

LINEBACKER
Junior Clint Ingram is still holding on to his first team spot, and today he was joined by Lance Mitchell and Gayron Allen as the starters. Wayne Chambers backed up Mitchell, and both had a great day at middle linebacker. Russell Dennison and Rufus Alexander worked with the second team, with Lewis Baker and Demarrio Pleasant also rotating in.

After practice, Ingram talked about his new role with the defense after switching from middle linebacker to the strongside spot.

"I just feel more comfortable at this position," Ingram said. "I think it really takes advantage of my skills more because I'm outside and I can drop in coverage and run more than I was in the middle. I feel like I've been given a new lease on lift out here, and I couldn't be happier. I'm playing as hard as I can, and I hope I'm showing Coach Venables I can do well in pass coverage."

Ingram also talked about finally getting his chance after watching from the sidelines for three seasons.

"At Oklahoma, there are so many good players. Of course, we all think we can play. But I was behind Pasha, Lance and Teddy, and all three of those guys will play in the NFL."

SECONDARY
Today's practice revealed one minor change among the starters in the secondary as Brandon Shelby worked with the first team at safety in OU's nickel package.

Wednesday was also a good day for Tony Cade and Brodney Pool. Cade appears to really be coming on of late, and Pool always seems to get his hands on balls and almost intercepted Thompson on one play.

Eric Bassey had another great day and made a diving interception on an out route from Paul Thompson in the goal line skelly drills. Jowahn Poteat rolled on ankle knocked down a pass, and was replaced in the lineup on the second team by Chijioke Onyenegecha for the remainder of practice.


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