Thusday's two hour scrimmage inside Memorial Stadium left OU Coach Bob Stoops wanting to see more. But it wasn't because he was happy with the performance.
"I'm not very impressed," said Stoops. "We were pretty average today. I just didn't think there was nearly enough enthusiasm or concentration. I thought it was fairly sloppy. So, we're going to come out Saturday at 11 (a.m.) and scrimmage again. We'll see if we can't be a little sharper, a little more consistent, assignment sound and everything."
Stoops also wasn't pleased with the teams' execution.
"I didn't like the penalties, and some of the situations we were in we just need more work at it," Stoops said when asked about what else disappointed him. "It wasn't always their fault, I just think we need to see more. This is typically not uncommon everywhere, especially during two-a-days. They're tired, but I'm not going to give them that excuse.
"Don't get me wrong, I know you guys are going to blow this up big and everything negative, but there were a lot of good plays. I just didn't feel it was as consistent as it could be or should be. So we'll just keep pushing for it. But there were a lot of good plays today."
Oklahoma's emotional leader on defense — Dusty Dvoracek — said if Stoops isn't pleased, then he isn't pleased.
"If coach isn't happy, then obviously I'm not happy," said Dvoracek. "We're out here to please him, and that's how it goes. He's the best coach in the country and he's the best judge.
"I guess I'm a little pissed off. We're going to keep doing it until we get it right. We're going to be ready for that game in a couple of weeks."
Most of the scrimmage was spent working on situations. There was a few sustained drives, but the Sooners also worked a lot on the two minute drill, red zone offense and defense, as well as clock management. The Sooners put three minutes on the clock and the ball on the 40-yard line. The offense's objective was to pick up a first down while running clock, while the defense tried to force a three and out using their timeouts to preserve the clock.
Several players were held out or did not practice in tonight's scrimmage.
Running backs Adrian Peterson Tashard Choice were held out while still nursing their injuries. Offensive tackle Jammal Brown was not at the scrimmage once again while dealing with the loss of a close family member. Wide receiver Jejuan Rankins was also not at the scrimmage due to personal issues.
On defense, cornerback Antonio Perkins did not scrimmage, but did run through several agility drills on the sideline during warmups. Defensive tackle Carl Pendleton also did not scrimmage.
Overall, Co-Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach Chuck Long was pleased with what he saw.
"I thought it was good. We had a situational scrimmage. Our purpose today was to go through situations and get young guys in to get some depth. We have a pretty good idea what our No. 1 team can do, and we haven't been able to feel that way for a few years. So, let's keep some guys healthy at this point and see what we have in our backups. That's what we did tonight and I thought we did pretty well."
Oklahoma's first team unit for most of the night included: Jason White at QB, KeJuan Jones and Donta Hickson at RB, Brandon Jones, Ataleo Ford and Travis Wilson at WR, Bubba Moses at TE, J.D. Runnels at FB, Davin Joseph and Wes Sims at OT, Vince Carter at C, John Flynn and Kelvin Chaisson at G.
Will Peoples, Mark Bradley worked in at receiver. Both Willie Roberts and Joe John Finley worked in at tight end. D.J. Wolfe got a series at running back. Chris Bush also worked with the OL at guard and center.
Co-Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables was pleased with the play of his first team defense for the most part, but still says they have some things to work on.
"Collectively, the first unit was good," Venables said. "But overall, the tackling wasn't as good as it could be. We had missed assignments and positioning, and those are things that we need to start tightening up and eliminating.
"We need to give ourselves a chance to win. We cannot hurt oursleves with foolish penalties. We had a couple penalties on third down and that was foolish. But that gives us some teaching opportunities that we can use right now."
The first team defense during today consisted of: Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson at DE; Lynn McGruder and Dusty Dvoracek at DT; Lance Mitchell, Gayron Allen and Clint Ingram at LB; Jowahn Poteat and Eric Bassey at CB, Brodney Pool and Donte Nicholson at S/FS.
Calvin Thibodeaux and Larry Birdine also worked with the defensive ends. Steven Coleman, Remi Ayodele, Cory Bennet and Lawrence Dampeer worked with the tackles. Rufus Alexander, Demarrio Pleasant also worked with the linebackers. Brandon Shelby was the nickel back.
Below is a position-by-position look at the highlights from Thursday's scrimmage.
Jason White took the majority of the reps with the first team offense and led the way with 170 yards while hitting 15 of his 23 pass attempts.
White did throw one bad ball that was intercepted by Brodney Pool, but bounced back to lead the Sooners on a 65-yard scoring drive during the two minute drill. White, who ran the no-huddle and completed four consecutive passes at one point during the drive, found Mark Bradley in between the safety and corner for a 22-yard touchdown pass to end the drive.
"No question he's been sharper," said Long, when asked about White's performance this spring. "He's even throwing the ball a lot better. His healthy knees are allowing him to drive and throw the ball better. Last year at this time, he was throwing with pain on every snap. That makes a difference, and it shows."
"I think it's possible that he could have a better year," Long said when asked if White could be a better quarterback this year. "He could actually have a better year, but not have a better year numbers-wise. We expect him to have some good numbers, but he might not match last year."
Redshirt freshman Tommy Grady was impressive with a 6-for-8 72 yard performance. Grady did throw one interception, but also threw the best pass of the day on an out and up pattern that hit Will Peoples in perfect stride at the goal line for a 33-yard touchdown connection.
Rhett Bomar was also impressive in his brief stint despite throwing one interception. Bomar, who was the last OU QB to take snaps today, was 7-of-11 for 104 yards. Bomar was part of the biggest play in today's scrimmage when Jacob Gutierrez took a screen pass 62-yards for a touchdown.
Paul Thompson's felt pressure from the defensive line on his first play of the scrimmage and threw a pass up for grabs over the middle that was intercepted by Tony Cade. Thompson finished 4-of-8 for 20 yards.
"We did a lot of situational stuff today," said White. "We moved the ball a couple of drives. We were working on down an distance and never got into a rhythm. That's what it takes for a good offense to move the ball. You have to get into a rhythm and stay in it."
So what does the offense need to work on?
"It's the little things that you guys don't see," White said. "We will get a chance to watch the film and correct our mistakes. We have a lot of practices left to get better, and that's what we plan on doing."
There's not much to brag about from the running backs today, except for Gutierrez's amazing 62-yard reception for a touchdown.
Bomar's pass was tipped by a lineman, but Gutierrez caught it, shook safety Brett Bowers, juked another player, ran through a pile of four potential tacklers and sprinted the rest of the way for the score.
However, in fairness to the running backs, there was a lot of short-yardage runs and sets designed to help pick up first downs.
D.J. Wolfe had trouble running early behind the backup line, but picked up some team with a couple of nice carries while running with the first team offense. KeJuan Jones also had a nice 9-yard run early in the scrimmage on the first team offense's drive against the first team defense that resulted in a field goal.
Wolfe led the way for the running backs with 31 yards on 13 carries. He also caught four passes for 14 yards. Jones also caught two straight passes out of the backfield during the Sooners' two minute drill scoring drive. Jones finished with 29 yards on three catches.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
JeJuan Rankins was not at the scrimmage today and Mark Clayton was held out, and that left the door open for Ataleo Ford to get the start in the slot with the first team. And Ford, a senior from Ardmore, didn't disappoint with a three-catch, 42 yard effort.
Travis Wilson also got the start and and a majority of his reps with White and the first team, and continued to impress. Wilson led the Sooner receivers in catches (4) and finished with 39 yards.
Brandon Jones caught one pass for 9 yards on a quick out on the second play of the scrimmage, and then was given the rest of the practice off.
Will Peoples beat the defense deep and caught a beautifully thrown lob from Tommy Grady for a 33-yard score. And Mark Bradley snuck behind the defense for a 22-yard touchdown pass from White.
Senior walk-on John Flynn got the start at guard with Jammal Brown sitting out the scrimmage and Davin Joseph moving to tackle.
The Sooners' second team consisted of Chris Chester at center, Brett Rayl and J.D. Quinn at guard, and Akim Millington and Chris Messner at tackle.
Randy McAdams and Cameron Schacht worked with the third team at tackle, Chris Bush at center, and walk-ons Steffen Van Zant and Alan Rothenberg at guard.
Perhaps the story of the defensive line from today's scrimmage was the return and play of Lawrence Dampeer.
Dampeer, who had missed the last two days of practice, came back with a bang sacking Tommy Grady on his first play and stuffing D.J. Wolfe four yards deep in the backfield on the next play, which drew a scattering of Moe! Moe! Moe! chants from the crowd. He finished with three tackles.
Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson started at defensive end, but backups Calvin Thibodeaux and Larry Birdine got a lot of work with the first team. Alonzo Dotson and Laenar Nixon were the third set of DE's to take snaps.
And once again on Thursday, Birdine was very active and showed signs of becoming the emotional leader of the future on the defensive line once Cody and Dusty Dvoracek are gone.
Lynn McGruder and Dvoracek started at defensive tackle, but several of the 'young pups' got a chance to show their stuff. Dvoracek finished with four tackles and one sack, and true freshman Cory Bennet led the DTs with five tackles and also recorded one sack. Steven Coleman also recorded a sack and recorded two tackles.
Gayron Allen led the defense with eight tackles, while backup Lewis Baker showed up well today with six tackles of his own. Lance Mitchell recorded five tackles and one sack.
Baker also had one of the bigger hits of the scrimmage when he popped receiver David Robinson over the middle.
Allen, Mitchell and Clint Ingram started with the first unit. They were followed by Zach Latimer, Rufus Alexander and Demarrio Pleasant, and then Baker and Wayne Chambers.
One player that did catch Stoops' eye was junior safety Brodney Pool.
Pool, who intercepted Jason White early in the scrimmage, said a recent meeting with Stoops has been the key to his effort on Thursday.
"I had a personal talk with Coach Stoops," said Pool "I'm just trying to become more of a leader and a better player so I can help out this team. I can become a lot better player."
"Brodney has been really stepping it up with not only this athleticism, but with his tenacity, intensity and concentration," said Stoops."
"He's been showing up more on tackling, and doing a lot better in the physical part of the game. Donte (Nicholson) and Brandon Shelby have also made good progress, so it's been a solid week."
As for the scrimmage, Pool says there are still some things to work on despite the fact that the first team defense only gave up one field goal and a touchdown during the two minute drill.
"We did alright today, but it was just an alright day," Pool said. "There's a lot of little things we still have to work on.
"We definitely need to get better. We ran to the ball, but we didn't get enough turnovers. Maybe we didn't run to the ball as hard as we could. We're still working on a few new wrinkles we put in the defense, and maybe there's a few plays we're thinking and not reacting too."
Tony Cade, Darren Stephens and Marcus Walker also came up with interceptions in the scrimmage. Walker, who picked off Rhett Bomar on the last play of the day, was slow to get offer after having what was believed to be a leg cramp. All indications are that he's fine and will return to practice on Friday.
We told you yesterday that the battle was on for the starting kicker job between Trey DiCarlo and strong-legged true freshman Garrett Hartley was officially on, and it may have gotten a bit closer today.
DiCarlo hit only 4 of his 10 field goal attempts today, while Hartley knocked through 7 of 8. DiCarlo hit the long kick of the day from 54-yards, despite missing from 27, 40, 50 (twice) and 54 (twice). Hartley missed his 54-yard attempt, but knocked through kicks from 27, 35, 37, 42, 40 and 50 (twice). Hartley also hit from 50, 55 and 60 in back-to-back-to-back attempts working on his own before the scrimmage started.
"I don't know what was wrong, but something was," said Stoops on DiCarlo's 4-for-10 performance. "He has to step it up because Garrett Hartley is a real good kicker. We've got a good competition going on there. Trey has to step it up."
With Rankins out, Mark Clayton assumed the kick return and punt return duties. Mark Bradley was the holder on extra-points and field goals.
Stoops 'not impressed' with second scrimmage
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