Wolfe, others impress during first scrimmage

Oklahoma running back D.J. Wolfe sheds a tackler during Sunday's scrimmage. Wolfe led the Oklahoma running backs with 52 yards rushing and scored one touchdown on a 23-yard reception. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Haderthauer)

The major question after the Sooners' 119 play scrimmage on Sunday night wasn't about returning Heisman Trophy winner Jason White's health, or about how the team has improved since last season's back-to back losses against LSU and Kansas State.

The first question from the media was one that was also on the minds of the 11,000 fans who attended the scrimmage: How serious was freshmen running back Adrian Peterson's injury?

Peterson, who many feel has a chance to impact the Oklahoma running attack in 2004, was injured on his fourth carry when he leaped over a defender and fell on his left shoulder.

"It's a minor dislocation," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops shortly after the scrimmage. "There isn't anything else wrong with it. We'll just take some time to let him get the soreness out.

"They usually say seven to 10 days to get the soreness out," Stoops said when asked how long Peterson might be out. "Then, doctors determine how strong it is to get back in there. Hopefully, he won't miss too much. He looked good when he was in there."

As for the rest of the scrimmage, the Sooners excused two starters from attending the scrimmage for personal reasons and held others limited action so that they could get a good look at their younger talent.

Stoops talked about who has impressed him so far during the post game press conference.

"Rufus Alexander, Clint Ingram and Demarrio Pleasant have been really good," said Stoops. "Chijioke (Onyenegecha) is really starting to come on, and Darien Williams. Eric Bassey's been playing awfully good too. Tony Cade is really stepping up."

"Offensively, D.J. Wolfe is someone that I've mentioned, he's one. Chris Bush has really been making a big move on the line. The tight ends are doing well. I think all those guys — Joe John Finley, Willie Roberts along with Bubba Moses — have a chance to make some nice plays catching the ball."

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Chuck Long was pleased with the offensive effort.

"I thought we did well. We wanted to establish some run game today, some smashmouth mentality," said Long. "I thought we came out and played pretty well in that department. We didn't throw a lot today. We know pretty much what we can do throwing the football.

"We wanted to see our young running backs, see what our young offensive linemen were capable of doing as far as rushing the football," Long continued. "We had some different plays and sets that we wanted to look at too. It was also a scrimmage for coaches to see what's good in certain situations and what's not. We're trying some new wrinkles to see what will work in a situation."

Defensive end coach Bobby Jack Wright talked about the Sooner D's effort.

"Did we shut them out? Then we didn't do very good," joked Wright when asked his overall thoughts on the Sooner D's play on Sunday. "Real pleased with Clint Ingram, and some of the plays he made. Demarrio Pleasant, another young linebacker was showing up all over the field.

"Those young defensive tackles and young defensive ends, I was really pleased with them. (Eric) Bassey made a lot of great plays in the secondary. Chijioke finally showed up. JJ (Jonathan Jackson) is still gone to his brothers' wedding until tomorrow. You didn't see Dan Cody much. Took him out after the first couple of series. Took Dusty (Dvoracek) out. The guys who have played three or so years here, we know what they're capable of doing."

Below is a position-by-position look at the highlights from Sunday's scrimmage.

Overall, it was a good day for Jason White and the rest of the Sooner quarterbacks.

White, who was 11-of-17 for 100 yards, threw two touchdowns passes but was intercepted once when he threw into triple coverage on a deep play-action pass from the goal line by Donte Nicholson.

The Heisman Trophy winner bounced back later in the scrimmage and found Travis Wilson in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown connection. He also hit Brandon Jones for an 18-yard touchdown in the Red Zone drill at the end of the scrimmage.

"Jason hadn't played since January 4," said Long. "He didn't have any scrimmage time in spring, so we needed to get the rust off him and get him a lot of scrimmage time today. And we thought he played pretty well.

Backup quarterback Paul Thompson, who completed 9-of-16 passes for 96 yards, also impressed Long.

"When you get a young quarterback you don't really feel his presence right off the bat," said Long. "But now with Paul Thompson, you really feel his presence. When he gets in that huddle, I feel that he's in that huddle. When they're young you don't feel it as much, but with him he's a guy that we are really confident and comfortable that when he's in there he'll get the job done."

Long also talked about the fact that that Thompson tends to look better in games and scrimmages than in practices.

"In practice, you're not going to see the whole Paul Thompson. He's going to get in the scrimmages and run around and make plays, and the games too. That's that one intangible that you don't know about until you get in the game.

"In the spring he got all the reps because Jason wasn't in there. Now Jason comes back and he doesn't get quite the reps that would like. So, you don't feel him as much as a fan or member of the media, but he's doing plenty good and in practice. We're excited about him. He makes a lot of plays. He's got great feet, he works hard. It's all paying off for him."

Redshirt freshmen Tommy Grady and true freshmen Rhett Bomar saw limited action. Grady made his only completion count when he connected on a 23-yard screen pass to D.J. Wolfe in the red zone drill for a score. Bomar was 4-of-10 for 53 yards, and threw his best pass when he knifed in between three different OU defenders on a 15-yard slant pass to Quentin Chaney.

"I thought all those guys played pretty well today for the first scrimmage," Long said. "We're excited about all of them."

Running Back
KeJuan Jones started with the first team offense and was impressive with several nice runs on the first drive of the scrimmage against OU's first team D. Jones, who finished with 38 yards on 10 carries, dazzled on one play when he picked up five extra yards at the end of a 15-yard scamper with a nifty spin move.

Donta Hickson backed up Jones and had the big play of the scrimmage with a 38-yard run. Hickson would later score on a 1-yard run during the red zone drill.

D.J. Wolfe was the third back to get snaps and had a great overall day running the football, picking up blocks in the backfield and catching screens. Wolfe carried the ball 22 times for 52 yards, and scored on a 23-yard pass from Grady in the red zone drills. Wolfe finished with two catches for 27 yards. The freshman from Lawton also got several reps with the first team offense near the end of the scrimmage.

Adrian Peterson followed Wolfe, but his first scrimmage as a Sooner was cut short when he separated his left shoulder at the end of his fourth carry. Peterson was stopped in the backfield on his first two carries, but had bounced back to pick up 12 yards on his last two runs.

"He's going to be great back," said Long. "He has great size and strength for a freshman. He was staring to get in a groove in the scrimmage before he got injured."

"Those guys are all doing well," said Stoops. "Kejuan's doing well. They had some nice runs. They've impressed. D.J. Wolfe is an awfully good player too. They're all doing a nice job."

Tashard Choice suited up but did not scrimmage.

Wide Receiver/Tight End
Travis Wilson has had a tremendous fall thus far, and that continued during Sunday's scrimmage. In all, Wilson caught three passes for 40 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass from White in which he went up and fought off Jowahn Poteat for the ball in the back of the end zone.

"I kind of overthrew him on that, and he jumped up and grabbed it," said White on Wilson's catch. "It was a great catch. He made a great play on it."

Mark Clayton started game with Brandon Jones and JeJuan Rankins at receiver, but was taken out after the first series so that the backups could get more reps.

One bright spot for the future was the play of true freshman Quentin Chaney. Chaney didn't get into the scrimmage until late, but he found an instant connection with Rhett Bomar and finished as OU's leading receiver in yards with 41 after pulling down three catches.

Another encouraging sign from Sunday's scrimmage was the Sooners use of their tight ends. Bubba Moses, who made two third down catches to keep drives going, led the Sooners with four catches (4) and finished with 29 yards receiving. And Joe John Finley and Willie Roberts each recorded two catches.

Offensive Line
Oklahoma's first team offensive line was solid for most of the scrimmage, and even dominating in the first drive as KeJuan Jones moved the chains for several running plays on the ground.

"I liked the attitude," said Stoops. "We're running it with a little more attitude to us. We've got to keep it up, but it was better. I thought we ran it decently really through the scrimmage. We just have to keep working it.

The Sooners first team offensive line consisted of: Wes Sims and Jammal Brown at tackle, Vince Carter at center, and Davin Joseph and Kelvin Chaisson at guard. Carter, who missed the spring with a knee injury, looked good and showed no effects that a possible redshirt is in the works.

Oklahoma's second unit consisted of: Chris Chester at center, Chris Bush and Brett Rayl at guard, and Chris Messner and Akim Millington at tackle. Freshmen Randy McAdams and Cameron Schacht worked in at tackle. J.D. Quinn and John Flynn also got reps at guard with the backups.

Defensive Line
Calvin Thibodeaux filled in for Jonathan Jonathan as a starter alongside Dan Cody. Jackson was excused from attending the scrimmage to attend his brothers' wedding, and Cody was taken out after the first two series to make way for OU's other defensive ends to get more work.

Backing up Thibodeaux and Cody was Larry Birdine and John Williams. Birdine only finished with one tackle, but drew praise from defensive end coach Bobby Jack Wright.

"He made a ton of plays," said Wright."He was physical on the pass rush. He picked up bootlegs, and he hadn't picked up a bootleg in three years. Those four guys — Cody, Jackson, Thibodeaux and Birdine — give us a great four-man rotation."

Dusty Dvoracek started alongside Lynn McGruder at defensive tackle and each made their presence known with one sack. Remi Ayodele and Carl Pendleton backed up Dvoracek and McGruder on the second team. Lawrence Dampeer and Steven Coleman also got reps with the second team.

True freshmen Cory Bennett saw some late action and was impressive with four tackles.

Lance Mitchell is visiting his sick father in California and did not scrimmage. Taking his place at middle linebacker was Zach Latimer. Gayron Allen and Clint Ingram started along side Latimer.

However, just as impressive as the starters were their backups. Rufus Alexander showed a lot of fire and led the Sooners with eight tackles. Demarrio Pleasant, who finished with six tackles, was also a force blitzing off the edge and getting into the backfield.

"Real pleased with Clint Ingram, and some of the plays he made," said Bobby Jack Wright. "Demarrio Pleasant, another young linebacker, was showing up all over the field."

Eric Bassey and Jowahn Poteat got the start at corner with Antonio Perkins still nursing his injured foot. Darien Williams and Chijioke Onyenegecha started with the second team, and freshman Marcus Walker worked in with the second team midway through the scrimmage.

At safety, it was Brodney Pool and Donte Nicholson getting the start. Brandon Shelby and Jason Carter backed them up. Cade also mixed a bunch with Carter. Darren Stephens and freshmen Brett Bowers also saw action.

Overall, it was a solid day for the secondary. Bassey was mentioned by the OU coaches afterward as having a great scrimmage. Jowahn Poteat gave up the only touchdown, despite having great coverage on Wilson's catch.

Chijioke Onyenegecha had a nice scrimmage, and caught the eye of Bobby Jack Wright.

"I thought he really made some great plays," said Wright. "I was glad to see him step forward a little bit. As everybody knows, he's been a little bit banged up and in the spring he wasn't 100 percent. He's just now getting to where he's fully healthy and he's starting to get a little confidence in himself.

"You saw him break up a couple of passes today, and he showed that he can certainly come up and hit you. We noticed him more when we were working on field goals and he was coming off the edge, leaving his feet and diving trying to block field goal kicks. We had to go over there and tone him down a little bit. We thought he was going to dislocate his shoulder just trying to block field goals. Really liked his effort and liked the fact that he showed up a bunch today and really made a lot of good plays."

Donte Nicholson picked off the only pass of the scrimmage when he leaped and grabbed a deep pass attempt by Jason White near the sideline near midfield.

Brandon Shelby led the Sooner defensive backs with six tackles. Eric Bassey was next with five while Brodney Pool finished with four.

Special Teams
Garrett Hartley and Trey DiCarlo matched each other kick-for-kick for the most part. Both connected from 52-yards out in pre-scrimmage kick-off, but it was DiCarlo who one-upped the true freshman with a 57-yarder. Hartley's 57-yard attempt was miss-hit and barely reached the goal line. Nevertheless, it was an impressive display by both kickers.

As for the kick-offs, Trey DiCarlo was the more consistent of the two, and even booted his first kick out of the back of the end zone.

Oklahoma unveiled their new kick return formation, which featured JeJuan Rankins and Mark Clayton alternating as the lone returner standing on the goal line. Travis Wilson and Mark Bradley were the wing returners and were placed on the hash marks on the 10-yard line.

Brandon Shelby blocked one kick in the pre-game kick-off, and Eric Bassey blocked a Trey-DiCarlo 47-yard attempt to end one of the first team offenses' scoring drives.

Recruiting Note
Edmond (North HS) offensive linemen Ben and Joe Barresi attended the scrimmage along with Kingfisher linebacker Curtis Lofton and Edmond (Sante Fe) defensive back Reggie Smith.

Scrimmage Stats

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