Saturday Evening Practice Notes 8/14

News and notes from Saturday night's practice including quotes from Bob Stoops. Pictured left: Mark Clayton (#9) watches on as J.D. Runnels (#38) particpates in kick-off drills. (Photo courtesy of

The Sooners capped the first day of two-a-days with a relatively light workout in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads in preparation for Sunday's scrimmage.

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops said the scrimmage, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., will have 90-105 plays. Stoops also said that linebacker Lance Mitchell and defensive end Jonathan Jackson are excused from attending tomorrow's scrimmage.

"Guys that have started two or three years don't need to be in the scrimmage because they have a track record," said Stoops. "A young guy who is battling for a starting job, or move up the depth chart would be more of a factor if they weren't there. There's a lot of veteran guys that I don't care if they're out there a lot tomorrow."

Mitchell is taking off the weekend to be with his ill father, while Jackson is going to be the best man at his brother's wedding.


The Associated Press Top 25 Poll was released earlier this afternoon, and Stoops commented on the Sooners being in the No. 2 spot behind USC after practice.

"I haven't heard. Where are we?" said Stoops when asked what he thought of the rankings. "We don't care. It doesn't make any difference at the start of the season. We know we're going to be good. Everybody says Southern Cal is good. Let's just go play. We've got a chance."


The full pads may have come off for the first time in two practices, but that didn't mean the workout was any less spirited than normal.

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Akim Millington took the early lead in the 'fights' statistic this spring when he had to be seperated from Larry Birdine by several coaches. It was Millington's second skirmish this fall.

Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek became irate and verbally challenged, in a rather intimidating way that we cannot repeat on this site, one backup offensive guard to come meet him face-to-face after one play where he felt he was tackled by the lineman.


KeJuan Jones returned to practice after missing the morning workout to nurse some minor injuries and looked great. Jones seemed to be back on a mission running harder than ever, particulary inside on short-yardage carries.

True freshmen Adrian Peterson has had some trouble fumbling the ball early on, and tonight he got some special attention from Coach Cale Gundy in one drill.

In the drill, each Sooner running backs jogs about 25 yards down the field carrying the football while one of the other running backs tries to slap the ball away repeatedly. Gundy was Peterson's running mate tonight, and the rookie passed with flying colors.

Gundy also took Peterson aside after one play when he was knocked to the ground by defensive end Larry Birdine. Gundy told Peterson that he could've had a big run had he ran with his shoulder pads down. So, on the next play Peterson followed Gundy's instruction, cut outside on a run off tackle and would've ran 50-yards for a touchdown.


It was a great night for quarterback Jason White in the short-yardage goal line situations throwing the football. White connected on TD passes to Brandon Jones, Will Peoples and Willie Roberts. On Roberts' touchdown catch, the junior had to stretch down to corral a low pass from White and made a great play.

The Sooners also worked a lot on bootlegs and rollout passes. Paul Thompson had a nice practice this morning, and always seems to look like a different quarterback when throwing off of bootlegs or running with the ball. Tommy Grady also showed his fabulous arm strength throwing lasers on several out routes.

And for the second straight practice, Jason White tucked the ball and ran for a gain of five yards. White drew praise for the coaches on the effort, but this time there was no defender there to rag on him like Rufus Alexander did in the morning workout.


Overall, it was a good day for the defense. OU's secondary worked on a variety of blitz packages with Brodney Pool and Jason Carter executing them perfectly. On one play, Pool's blitz forced freshmen QB Rhett Bomar to force a throw and miss a wide open receiver over the middle.

Eric Bassey continued his solid fall and had a good skelly drill session. Bassey competed hard and showed great coverage skills on two ocassions when he blanketed Will Peoples and Brandon Jones. Shelby also had a nice play in the skelly drills when he nearly picked off Jason White.

It was also another good day for Chijioke Onyenegecha. Onyenegecha, who is getting more and more reps on the second and first teams with Antonio Perkins out, broke well on several balls and appears to be playing with more and more confidence.

The defense also ended practice on a great note when they kept Jason White and Co. out of the end zone during the two minute drill.


Two players who are quickly making their mark, and making an impression on Bob Stoops, are kicker Garrett Hartley and punter Cody Freeby.

Both kicked the ball great again on Saturday night, and Stoops was asked after practice if there was a chance they could play this season.

"There could be. Both those young guys are really kicking the ball well. They have strong legs. We'll see how it goes over the next couple of days."

The Sooners are also using a different kick return formation for the first time during the Stoops era. Instead of putting two returners at the goal line, they are putting one returner in the middle of the field at the goal line and two players flanked to each side of the middle return man on the 10-yard line.

Stoops explained the new formation after practice.

"All three guys are return men," said Stoops. "Any one of them can return it, but if the ball goes to the middle we have bigger guys who can block on the wings, and we get better blocking that way."

In today's practice, it was JeJuan Rankins and Mark Bradley rotating on the goal line with Bradley/Rankins and Wilson getting reps on the wings.

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