Friday's Spring Practice Report

Bob Stoops, Rufus Alexander and Carl Pendleton talk about Friday's practice. Las Vegas, Nev. running prospect Demarco Murray (pictured above) attended the practice while on an unofficial visit.

The Oklahoma football team practiced for two and a half hours in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage.

OU head coach Bob Stoops said the scrimmage, which is set to begin at 1 p.m., will shave around 110-115 plays but be somewhat different than last weekend.

"We'll try to get more people off the field, substitutions and coaches. Try to be more game-like. We're still working towards that."

Secondary Impressive
The Sooners weren't in full pads on Friday, so that basically meant the main battles to watch were between the secondary and receivers, and the secondary answered the challenge like they have for the most part this spring.

The secondary, who has only given up a handful of deep passes all spring, didn't get beat deep at all again on Friday. They also picked off three passes and broke up several others in the process.

Safety Jason Carter had his best day of the spring with two interceptions. Eric Bassey also had a great practice with one pick and two pass breakups.

Chijioke Onyenegecha also had a nice day in coverage breaking up several passes, but not coming down with any interceptions, which prompted secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright to say, "Choke, if you had hands you'd be dangerous."

In all, the defense, especially the secondary, got the best of the first team offense. By our count, the biggest play given up on the day, other than a couple of 15-yard touchdown passes in the red zone drill, was a 20-yard run by Kejuan Jones.

QB Race Continues
Chuck Long's upcoming QB decision gets tougher and tougher every day. Every practice it seems like two quarterbacks step up, while the other has a slightly off-day.

Today, it was Tommy Grady who threw multiple interceptions, while Rhett Bomar and Paul Thompson threw the ball very well.

Thompson did throw one interception, but had a great day throwing the ball otherwise. Thompson hooked up for the play of the day on offensively when he hit Jejuan Rankins on a flag route for a touchdown in the red zone drill.

Rhett Bomar also chucked a 15-yard touchdown pass in the red zone drill to Lendy Holmes, where he split the safeties over the middle.

Linebackers Progressing
Oklahoma's quartet of linebackers are having a great spring, but one backer who is stepping up and taking a leadership role is Rufus Alexander.

Alexander talked about the progress of the defense after practice.

"I think we're doing better," Alexander said. "We still have a ways to go. We're beginning to get all of our assignments down. It really helps that Chijioke and Bassey are beginning to get their assignments down. We're all working on it together. It's really going to be a benefit for us when we all get on the same page."

Alexander also talked about the group of linebackers and his own game.

"We're all playing together as a unit. What people don't understand is that we have certain lanes we have to cover and places we have to be, and I think people forget that. All of us can make plays.

"I think I've had a good spring," Alexander continued. "I've got so much to do though to get better, but I realize that. I'm not bashful to say that."

Hartley Booming
Bob Stoops has several superstitions. One you might notice when listening to his interviews is that he always says, 'knock on wood' and taps the podium after making certain comments.

However, one that Stoops himself hasn't picked up on yet is that he always has the kicker, in this instance Garrett Hartley, end with a made field goal.

"I hadn't noticed that," Stoops said. "That only makes sense. I haven't consciously thought about it but it's probably my nature that we're not going to leave on a bad one. But, the last one he missed we were 60 yards away. He had the leg for it but just kind of pulled it. The reason we went back and did it again was to get the other holder in there."

As for Hartley, the sophomore missed from 62, but hit a long of 58 on his last attempt.

Pendleton Stepping Up
Whether the Sooners are in full pads or not, one player who has impressed us just about every day this spring has been Carl Pendleton.

In fact, it's our opinion that Pendleton will start alongside Dusty Dvoracek on opening day next September.

"I think it's going pretty well," said Pendleton on his spring. "I've got so much to do to get better. I've got to better my at my technique and get stronger and put more weight on. It's really the key to how we play (technique). I don't think people understand how technique really helps us."

However, the biggest battle for Pendleton has been putting on weight.

"I weigh about 275," Pendleton said. "I eat a lot and try to put on weight, but we run so much and are so active, it's not like I can just go eat and sit around."

Recruits on Campus
From what we could see, it appeared that that Las Vegas, Nev. running back Demarco Murray and Arlington, Texas quarterback Sherrod Harris were the only recruits at practice Friday. But you can expect several more to show up on Saturday.

Also in attendance at today's practice was Reggie Smith, who spent a portion of the practice watching the secondary with Bob Stoops.

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