The Oklahoma football team returned to the practice field again on Thursday in shoulder pads, helmets in shorts for their fourth workout this fall.
The edge in yesterday's first practice in shoulder pads went to the defense, but on Thursday it was advantage offense.
What has impressed OU Head Coach Bob Stoops about this year's team is the togetherness regardless of who is doing what in practice.
"You could have animosity between offense and defense, but we don't," said Stoops. "When an offensive guy makes a play you always see a defender pat him on the back, and vice versa. When the competition is over they shake hands and pat each other on the back.
"I know I talk about this a lot, but our guys just like playing football," Stoops continued. "They just like playing the game, and they like one another. They're trying to become a great team."
Below is a position-by-position look at the highlights from Thursday's practice.
Jason White looked like a Heisman Trophy quarterback should look during Thursday's practice. For the first time this fall, White picked the Sooners secondary apart for most of the workout.
White hit everything from slants, to posts, to screens. He picked up the blitz well and even audibled on one play and promptly hit Will Peoples on a deep curl threading the needle between Brodney Pool and Eric Bassey.
Backup Paul Thompson had a so-so day throwing deep, but looked great in the short passing game. Thompson was intercepted once, as was Tommy Grady.
We're just four days into fall workouts and freshmen running back Adrian Peterson is already beginning to get more and more snaps with the first and second team.
Part of that might have to do with the fact that Tashard Choice missed his second straight practice, but there is also no question that Peterson clearly has the size, speed, moves and mentality to get the job done.
Peterson has his moments when he is stuffed at the line, like today by Wayne Chambers and Clint Ingram, but he also has those moments when he breaks what could be potentially big runs. Peterson ran off tackle for what would have been a touchdown in the inside drills, and also had a nice run when he broke a tackle attempt by Larry Birdine and picked up extra yardage.
But Peterson still hasn't overtaken KeJuan Jones, who is running harder than ever, and seemingly picking up four and five yards a carry so far this fall. D. J. Wolfe is also emerging and stood out toward the end of practice today.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
The usual suspects (Mark Clayton, Brandon Jones, JeJuan Rankins and Will Peoples) always seem to look good, but one player who is wanting to join that group is Travis Wilson.
Wilson has had a spectacular fall thus far and looked great again today when he made a diving catch for a 25-yard gain on an in and out route.
Back to Clayton, the senior had another magnificent day and even hooked up with White for what would've been an 80-yard touchdown catch in the team drills.
Bubba Moses appears to have a stonghold at the tight end spot, and the Houston native talked with us after practice today about his competition and his progress through the first four practices.
"It's going pretty well for me," Moses said. "I was able to get into the groove quickly. I'm still working on some of my techniques — like coming off the ball and getting in the pass route, but overall things are going well.
"We have three real good tight ends," said Moses continued. "I don't think I'm any stronger than them. If anything, I just have more experience on those two. I think they have improved a bunch blocking-wise, but I'm a little more experienced. That pays big dividends because sometimes you've got to block on angles or two guys in an area, and you have to block the right one because the running back is going to block the other one. The other guys are still learning those schemes."
"Bubba is playing well," said Stoops. "He's becoming a good tight end. All three can catch the ball, but Bubba has a slight edge because he's a better blocker."
There were some classic battles today in the inside drills between the offensive line and defensive line, but the two who stood out the most today was Jammal Brown and Davin Jospeh.
Brown held his own against a very tough Jonathan Jackson just about every time out, and Davin Jospeh was also dominant at times going against the Sooners' defensive tackles, which isn't an easy task.
Jammal Brown has been getting a lot of buzz this fall, but a lot of insiders feel that Davin Jospeh is also having his best fall yet. Chris Chester also had several great moments blocking today on the inside drills.
Dusty Dvoracek had another great workout today along with redshirt freshmen Carl Pendleton. Mo Dampeer looked good again today and was able to fight through and finish every drill.
Not much news today from the linebackers. Lance Mitchell was Lance Mitchell, and Gayron Allen always seemed to be making tackles or around the ball on every play.
The Sooner secondary has been very impressive this fall. They struggled a little bit today due to the great play of White and the Sooner receivers, and the absence of Antonio Perkins. But they still did manage to have their moments as Jowahn Poteat picked off Paul Thompson and Brandon Shelby intercepted Tommy Grady. Perkins missed practice with a minor ankle sprain.
Overall, new defensive back coach Bo Pelini has been impressed with what he's seen so far this fall.
"I'm really happy with how things are developing," said the former Nebraska defensive coordinator. "Jowahn Poteat is doing well with 'Perk' out. He's very much improved. I would say Eric Bassey has a slight edge right now at the other corner. He's had a real good camp with Poteat right on him. I'm happy with our young guys too. They're coming along and showing great passion for the game.
"At safety, we have a great competition and I'm real happy with the depth we have there. Brandon Shelby has solidified himself as the nickel or dime guy. Right now he would be our third safety. And Tony Cade and Jason Carter in a battle and have looked good so far in camp."
Pelini also noted the that he's been impressed with freshman safety Brett Bowers and his willingness to learn the system despite the fact he's not getting many reps.
Another player who put together another good workout and is getting better every day, is cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha.
"I'm running well," said Onyenegecha after Thursday's workout. "I hope you can see me out there. I'm just absorbing everything. They throw something new at me every day. But we're at Oklahoma, and that's going to happen."
The Sooners will return to the practice field again tomorrow at 5 p.m. for their first workout in full pads. And the first full pad workout in Norman usually means the 'Oklahoma Drill' is coming.
"We're at Oklahoma, aren't we? We've got to run the Oklahoma drill." said Stoops after practice. "It's kind of a tradition around here, and we'll do it right out of the chute. Our guys like the drill. They have fun with it. We'll do that tomorrow at practice."
"That's one of our best drills because you take one of your offensive lineman against a defensive linemen with a running back and a defender," said running back KeJuan Jones. "Our job is to score, their job is to knock our head off. It's fun."
The Sooners also got some good news on the recruiting front during Thursday's practice when landed a commitment from La Cygne, Kan. defensive end Brody Eldridge.
Eldridge visited Norman on Thursday with his parents and told Sooner coach Bobby Jack Wright that he was officially a Sooner shortly before heading back to Kansas.
Thursday's 8/12 Practice Report
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
Mayfield 3rd, Westbrook 4th for HeismanOU's Baker Mayfield finished third, while Dede Westbrook was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Sooners Illustrated6:32 PM
Sooner Intel: Marquise BrownIntel returns with an update on OU juco wide receiver target Marquise Brown.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 6:51 AM
Sooner Intel: Thibodeaux on the prowlIntel returns with a look at the work Calvin Thibodeaux has put in with the defensive line recruiting in the last week.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 6:47 AM
Sooner Intel: What's Kerry cooking?Intel returns with all the pertinent moves at defensive back for OU in the last week.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 6:43 AM
TBT: Heisman Finalists as Seniors on ScoutOn 'Throwback Thursday' Scout rewinds the recruiting clock to take a look at this year's Heisman Trophy finalists as prospects coming out of high school.
Scout FootballThursday at 10:27 AM