Wednesday Evening Practice Notes 8/18

News and notes from Wednesday night's practice. Sophomore defensive end Larry Birdine (pictured right) continued his impressive fall camp on Wednesday night. The Sooners will hold their second scrimmage tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. (Photo Courtesy of SoonerSports.com)

The Sooners may have not been in full pads on Wednesday night, but that didn't keep them from having a spirited, physical practice.

In fact, the practice was so physical that even Jason White was knocked down on play that had the OU coaches, players and fans watching taking a deep breathe as he slowly got up.

But the best news to come out of tonight's workout was that redshirt freshman Carl Pendleton's checked out OK this morning's scare. He was not at practice tonight, but is expected back soon.

Post-practice interviews with the coaches and players were not allowed tonight, so below is a look at who stood out from the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

DEFENSE
It was another good day for the defense as they played with an extra ounce of emotion and once again shut out the offense in the two minute drill.

Larry Birdine was impressive once again rushing the quarterback, and Dan Cody batted down several passes at the line with his seven-foot wingspan.

Lance Mitchell returned to practice for the first time in four days and didn't miss a beat. Mitchell always seemed to be where the ball was at the end of every play, and also stopped a potential scoring drive during the two minute drill with a pass breakup over the middle.

Demarrio Pleasant also continued to impress with his ability to blitz from the strongside linebacker spot. On one play, Pleasant thwarted a potential touchdown when his blitz forced an incomplete pass to a wide open Quentin Chaney in the end zone.

Brodney Pool was also all over the field. Pool intercepted one pass and batted down two others. Another safety who was impressive, was Tony Cade. Cade knocked down one potential touchdown pass to Mark Clayton and would've returned a Jason White pass for a touchdown had the play not been blown dead. Donte Nicholson also recorded an interception off a Rhett Bomar pass.

Darien Williams showed great instincts on one play when he sniffed out and stopped a slip screen to Ataleo Ford. And redshirt freshman Brett Bowers drew praise from coaches for being in the right position on one play when he was in position to make a touchdown saving tackle during a goal line stand.

Redshirt freshman Lawrence Dampeer missed practice again today, and has been given a leave of absence by the OU coaches to return home to Illinois for personal reasons. He is expected to be back in Norman by Sunday.

OFFENSE
It was a so-so day for White. It's very rare, but the senior from Tuttle actually threw a few bad balls today, and was picked by Tony Cade once.

But White bounced back and connected with Travis Wilson for the play of the day. Facing a 1st and ten from the 15 yard-line, White was able to beat double coverage on Wilson with a perfectly timed out route. The ball was delivered right as Wilson came out of his break. Wilson then promptly turned, caught the ball, spun and took off the for end zone where he successfully dove for the pylon.

The Sooners also worked on rolling White out of the pocket, and even had him roll to his left and dump a shuttle pass to KeJuan Jones, which brought back memories of Josh Heupel running the same play to Quentin Griffin back during the 1999 season. OU also ran several option plays with Paul Thompson.

Freshman running back Adrian Peterson told us after practice that he is on schedule for a 7-10 day return. Peterson said he lifted weights today for the first time since Sunday and felt great.

Donta Hickson was impressive in the short-yardage drill with a couple of nice touchdown runs.

Center Vince Carter returned to practice after taking the morning off and worekd a bunch tonight. Kelvin Chaisson also got some work at center along with Chris Bush. Davin Joseph once again worked at tackle.

One player who might be on the verge of earning some major playing time is junior tight end Willie Roberts. Roberts has had a great week running routes and was outstanding in the short-yardgae passing game to the tight ends on Wednesday night. Now, we're not saying that he's going to overtake Bubba Moses, but at this point he appears to be on his way to separating himself as the solid No. 2 tight end.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The battle is on for the punting job and kick-off duties. Cody Freeby is coming on strong, but if Blaker Ferguson can equal the freshman he'll win the job. Trey DiCarlo has the slight edge over Garrett Hartley for the kick-off duties, but it's still anybody's race with two scrimmages coming in the next week

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