4/1 Spring Football Practice Report

See inside for a position-by-position recap of Friday's practice, including an update on the visit of Myron Rolle. Also, senior cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha (pictured above) talks about his progress this spring. Saturday's scrimmage is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Fans are asked to enter the stadium on the South side through gates 1 and 12. The gates will open at 9 a.m.

The Oklahoma football team went through a one hour and 50 minute workout Friday night in just helmets, shorts and shoulder pads in preparation for the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said after practice today that Saturday's scrimmage could be a long one.

"We'll start off with a little bit of special teams and then get into moving the football," said Stoops. "We plan on it to go a pretty good ways. We want to get a good number of snaps and hopefully keep everyone healthy. We have a lot of work to get done."

Fans will be allowed to enter the stadium through gates 1 and 12 beginning at 9 a.m.

One non-position note from today's practice was the treatment of Princeton, N.J. prospect Myron Rolle at practice. Rolle arrived in Norman today with his mother, father and two brothers, and was greeted and accompanied by Stoops for a good portion of the workout.

When Rolle got to practice, he was first greeted by Stoops and then quickly swooped to where the team was stretching to meet Bobby Jack Wright, Brent Venables and several players, including D.J. Wolfe.

During the practice, Rolle was invited onto the field to watch the defensive backs during their individual and one-on-one drills with Stoops. Stoops talked with Rolle during the drills, as well as working with the defensive backs after every play, but would then to return to Rolle as if to tell him what he was telling his players.

Then at the end of practice, Rolle was allowed into the team huddle. Looks like the red carpet has been officially 'Rolled' out for perhaps America's top junior this weekend.

Below is a position-by-position look at who did what at practice today.

Quarterbacks
Thompson, Bomar and Grady all looked good today. If you forced us to pick one, we probably couldn't.

Bomar, who struggled with two interceptions on Wednesday, bounced back strong and looked to be the best quarterback in the seven-on-seven drills throwing the ball into the wind.

Bomar also ran some option and even kept the ball twice. And on one rollout, Bomar held on to the ball and picked up 15-yards before being touched by the defense. The redshirt freshman also connected on two different touchdown passes that we saw, one to Fred Strong on a 15-yarder during the red zone drill. He also hit Travis Wilson on a perfectly timed 20-yard curl route during the seven-on-seven drills.

Grady had another great day finding the end zone just as he did on Wednesday. By our count, Grady hooked up for a 25-yarder to Lendy Holmes, a 15-yarder to Bubba Moses, an 8-yarder to Travis Wilson, and an 11-yarder to Joe Jon Finley.

Running Backs/Fullbacks
Kejuan Jones was back at practice after missing Wednesday for class and continues to surprise us with his quickness. Jacob Gutierrez cooled down from his sensational workout on Wednesday, but did have one nice run.

At fullback, J.D Runnels looked great catching the ball out of the backfield along with Russell Dennison. We were also impressed with the athletic ability of Dane Zaslaw, who finally seems to be getting back into football playing shape.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jejuan Rankins continues to impress this spring and was virtually unstoppable today in the one-on-one drills against the defensive backs. Tristen Ross had the move of the day during the one-on-one drills, where he totally turned Eric Bassey on an out and up move.

Quentin Chaney is having a great camp, but if there is one thing he needs to work on it is that every now and then he'll bust a route. Travis Wilson also had another great practice, and for the second straight day beat his man deep one on fly route, but today he dropped the perfectly thrown pass from Grady.

Offensive Linemen
The starting lineup continues to be the same with: Akim Millington and Davin Joseph at tackle, Chris Bush and Chris Chester at guard and Kelvin Chaisson at center. Once again, the centers (Chaisson and J.D. Quinn) had some trouble snapping the ball during today's practice. That might be something to watch for during tomorrow's scrimmage. It will also be nice to see how the line blocks in real live action this spring on Saturday.

Defensive Linemen
John Williams and Alonzo Dotson are having great springs, but today it was Dotson who joined Larry Birdine on the first team defense. Dotson looked great again today and is very quick off the edge. On one play, Dotson recovered to get out and force Travis Wilson to cut back after getting a hand-off on a reverse.

But not be forgotten is Williams, who made his way through the line for two sacks on Friday. C.J. AhYou, who is running on the second team with Williams, also had one sack.

At defensive tackle, it was another good day for the entire group. Steven Coleman had a sack for the second straight practice and Dusty Dvoracek and Carl Pendleton did a great job stuffing the run on short-yardage plays.

Jackie Shipp talked about his unit after practice.

"Things are going good. I am really pleased right now because they are giving me great effort. The guys are having a little success, even guys like Steven Coleman and Cory Bennett. All of them at some point have had some kind of success. I like how they are building off of that."

Shipp also talked about how valuable the return of Dvoracek is for the team.

"I get asked that all the time, and I probably say the same thing. Of course, it's great to get Dusty back. It means a lot to our team, but in reality it's just as important that it's good for Dusty to be back. I think Dusty needs football and he needs to be on this team. And we need him, so it's a good thing for all of us."

Linebackers
Demmario Pleasant hasn't broken into the starting lineup yet, but he had a good practice on Friday, especially in coverage. Zach Latimer also had another great day in pass coverage, jumping one route and nearly making the interception. Once again, when OU went to their nickel defense, it was Latimer and Rufus Alexander starting at linebacker.

Secondary
When the Sooners went to the nickel today, the secondary lined up with Chijioke Onyenegecha and Eric Bassey at corner, Darrien Williams and Tony Cade at safety and Lewis Baker at the nickel back.

Friday was a great day for Cade, who seems to be rejuvenated after being put back on the first team during different drills on Wednesday. From what we saw today, Cade pursued well to the ball and didn't let any receivers get behind him.

Lewis Baker also showed some Roy Williams-like quickness on one play in nickel coverage when he blitzed and recorded a sack on Rhett Bomar.

One player who is adjusting to a new spot in the secondary is Onyenegecha, who is now OU's boundary corner, which means he will always line up on the short side of the field. After practice today, Onyenegecha talked about the change in defensive philosophy and playing on the short side of the field.

"It does simplify things, but it really doesn't matter to me which one I play," Onyenegecha said. "I think they want me to play there because I'm a pretty good run defender and strong enough to play on the boundary. I'm beginning to get some assignments down and I think I'm doing pretty well.

Onyenegecha also talked about his overall performance thus far this spring.

"I think I'm competing pretty well. I know I have talent, it's just a matter of doing the right thing and knowing what to do on every call, reading the play and making the right decision. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of that."

Special Teams
Jejuan Rankins and Travis Wilson both seem to be separating from the pack as the kick returners and top two candidates to return punts. Backing up Wilson and Rankins on kick-off returns on Friday was Jacob Gutierrez and Lendy Holmes.

The kick-off return team today consisted of Rankins and Wilson deep, J.D. Runnels and Russell Dennison on the third line, Bubba Moses and Joe Jon Finley on the second line, and Lewis Baker, Clint Ingram, Russell Dennison, D.J. Wolfe and Donta Hickson on the front line.


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