Bomar, Jones, Wilson impress in second scrimmage

See inside for our position-by-position recap of Saturday's scrimmage. Plus, quotes from Bob Stoops, Chuck Long, Brent Venables, Rhett Bomar, Paul Thompson, Tommy Grady, Kejuan Jones, Travis Wilson, Clint Ingram and Eric Bassey. Bomar (pictured above) completed 9-of-16 passes for 153 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception.

The Oklahoma football team completed their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday, and by all accounts it was a better day for the offense than last week.

The first team offense scored twice on the first team defense in the full-field portion of the scrimmage and twice during the red zone drills.

"I thought it was a real good day for us from the standpoint that we executed so much better," said Co-offensive coordinator Chuck Long. "We were able to hit some big plays, but we did a good job of sustaining drives.

"I thought we were more physical today. I thought our line, fullbacks and tight ends did a good job. Our running backs ran hard. We don't have 'AD' in there, yet our running backs were making plays.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops talked about the offensive performance.

"What was also good about our offense today was that we had some success, despite the fact J.D. (Runnels) was not playing as much. We're not using as many I (formation) plays as we normally would, yet we're scoring. We're trying to protect J.D. and not give him a ton of snaps.

Despite his first team defense giving up two scoring drives, defensive coordinator Brent Venables' defense did pick off three passes and keep the the offense from scoring on six of eight drives.

"It was another opportunity to get on the field and get better, and I think we accomplished that," Venables said. "I really liked our attitude. We had pretty good pressure all day. I thought we were able to get our hands on a lot of balls.

"We did give up a few plays that we have to eliminate," Venables continued. "We had a couple of penalties on key third down's, but when we gave up those third down plays we responded and kept them out of the end zone."

Venables also said he can see that certain players are beginning to step up and take leadership roles.

"You can see an identity for our defense begin to develop. We have guys emerging at the leadership position as well.

Overall, Stoops was pleased with the effort.

"We cleaned it up quite a bit over last week with fewer penalties, fewer fumbles and fewer bad snaps," Stoops said. "That's positive. It's still hard to judge one side over the other. We have some limitations built in with our blocking and our defense. Players sees our plays so often that they may have a little advantage."

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

Quarterbacks
All three quarterbacks threw at least one interception on Saturday, but it was Rhett Bomar who far and away stood out over the other two.

Bomar led the only two scoring drives of the day in the full-field scrimmage, both coming against the first team defense.

On his first drive, Bomar connected on a 33-yard slant to Travis Wilson and 24-yarder over the middle to Bubba Moses that set up a 1-yard run by Kejuan Jones. On his second scoring drive against the first team defense, Bomar hit Wilson with a 66-yard bomb for a touchdown.

In the red zone drill, Bomar hit Wilson again, this time in the corner of the end zone for a 9-yard TD pass.

Bomar, who finished 9-of-16 for 153 yards, did throw one interceptions after driving the second team offense inside the 30-yard line.

"I really think I had a good day," Bomar said. "I threw some good balls and did a good job directing the offense. I had the one interception I wish I could have back. For the most part, I think I had a good day."

"I feel like I'm a good leader and the guys respond to me. I think they feed off of the fact that I am so confident. It's really important that we get a great tempo going in the huddle, and all that's coming together for us. I think we had a great tempo today.

Oklahoma Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long talked about Bomar's play after the scrimmage.

"The longer we go production plays more an more a part of it," said Long when asked if Bomar's sustained scoring drives helped his stock. "The bottom line is you have to score. Rhett did a good job of that, but all three got the ball in the end zone. Rhett is doing a good job of directing the offense and he's doing a good job of handling adversity."

Paul Thompson bounced back from his below-average performance in the first scrimmage by completing 14-of-19 passes for 123 yards.

Thompson did throw one interception, but directed a nice drive in the red zone drill that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown pass to Fred Strong.

However, his 123 passing yards are somewhat inflated by a 44-yard screen pass where Kejuan Jones did most of the work.

"I'm really happy with the second scrimmage," Thompson said. "The offensive line was giving me more time to throw and the receivers were getting into their routes better. I think it was a much better day for us.

"I've been pretty frustrated because I haven't been able to move the ball, but today we were able to get some passes completed and get the ball in the end zone. I think I executed pretty good."

Tommy Grady had a good scrimmage last Saturday, but struggled today completing 7-of-13 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions.

"I wish I could have my interceptions back," said Grady. "We have one more week to go. This is going to be an important week for all of us."

Despite combining for four interceptions, Long was still pleased with his quarterbacks.

"I thought today a couple times we had our quarterbacks get their heads down, but they came back when they got back out there and did a good job of directing the offense."

Long was also asked if any quarterback was beginning to make a move for the starting spot.

"There's really not. When I tell you that, maybe that's not correct, but all three are driving hard. To be honest, the guys can sense there's a little more importance. Quarterbacks can tell when another one is doing well.

"We have one week to go and then the Red-White game. This week will tell us a lot about the quarterback race. I'm still not saying we'll make a decision at the end of the game, but a quarterback should make a move this final week."

Running Backs/Fullbacks
Adrian who? Well, we're not ready to toss Peterson to the bench just yet, but what's waiting in the wings behind him certainly impressed today.

Kejuan Jones showed tremendous speed and cutting ability today, as he rushed for 70 yards on nine carries.

Jones, who had runs of 32 and 21 yards, as well as a dazzling screen pass which he turned into a 44-yard gain, also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on against the first team defense.

"I have to give all the credit to coach Gundy," Jones said. "He is really stressing for us to have a great spring and work hard. I'm trying to show him that if the offense gets down or we get in a tight spot, he can come to me and I'll make some thing happen.

"I want them to believe in me. I'm trying to establish this spring that I can be a guy that can make some things happen. I am in the best shape I've ever been in and I feel like I'm faster.

Jacob Gutierrez and Donta Hickson had some nice runs, but nothing spectacular. Gutierrez finished with 25 yards on 12 rushes, while Hickson carried the ball 11 times for 21 yards.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Travis Wilson wasn't a factor in the first scrimmage, but he showed on Saturday why he could be the go-to receiver in OU's offense.

Wilson finished with 110 receiving yards on five catches. Wilson caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Rhett Bomar and another 9-yarder for a TD in the corner of the end zone during the red zone drill. Wilson also broke a quick slant catch for a 33-yard gain.

"I wanted to be more active today because I didn't get involved last week," Wilson said. "I wanted to make it a point to be a factor, but it was our run game that got us going. Kejuan, Donta, and Gute all did a great job pounding the ball in the middle and that opened up the passing game on the outside.

"It wasn't in the gameplan like that because we don't do gameplans in scrimmages, but I let the quarterbacks know I was going to get open today and to look for me. I hope we go into every game looking for me because I am going to have a great senior year."

Working with Wilson on the first team for most of the scrimmage was Jejuan Rankins, Quentin Chaney and Lendy Holmes. However, other than Wilson the other first-team receivers were relatively quiet. Rankins did catch one touchdown pass in the red zone drills.

At tight end, Bubba Moses had a great day with 47 yards on four catches. Willie Roberts had three catches for 31 yards, but his numbers could've been much better had not dropped passes.

On the second team, the star of the day was Fred Strong. Strong finished with 41 yards on four catches and one 7-yard touchdown pass in the red zone drill.

Offensive Linemen
The first team offensive line of Davin Joseph and Akim Millington at tackle, Chris Chester and Kelvin Chaisson at guard, and Chris Bush at center) was solid.

They gave up a sack here or there, but they did get two scoring drives against the first team defense and opened up some holes for Jones to rush for 70 yards on nine carries.

One other major improvement from last Saturday was the play at center. The move of Bush from guard to center has clearly solidified the snapping situation. J.D. Quinn also improved his snapping in the shotgun from Saturday.

From what we could tell, there were a couple of low snaps and one or two high snaps, but they were still within a reasonable reaching distance for the quarterbacks, unlike last week when the QBs had to make great plays just to catch the snap.

On the second team line it was Quinn at center, Branndon Braxton and Chris Messner at tackle, and Ben Barresi and Brett Rayl at guard.

Defensive Linemen
Steven Coleman was awarded with a start on the first team defense alongside Carl Pendleton at defensive tackle, and he responded nicely with five tackles, two sacks and one batted down pass at the line.

Dusty Dvoracek also worked with the first team and looked great again picking up two more sacks. Dvoracek now has six sacks in the two scrimmages this spring.

Carl Pendleton finished with four tackles and one sack, while Cory Bennett showed some flashes with two tackles. Remi Ayodele also recorded one sack.

At defensive end, it was Larry Birdine and Alonzo Dotson getting the start. C.J. AhYou and Calvin Thibodeaux also worked in with the first time.

As for Birdine, he was his usual self today talking smack on every play, whether it was a making a tackle after a seven-yard gain or a sack. Birdine finished with two tackles and one sack.

C.J. AhYou had perhaps the most impressive sack of the scrimmage when he chased down Rhett Bomar on a third-down play. Laenar Nixon showed great speed off the edge with two sacks.

Linebackers
Brent Venables should be proud. He only has four scholarship linebackers, but even his walk-on, Ryan McGrath, managed to finish second on the team with 10 tackles.

Rufus Alexander was all over the field with a team-high 12 tackles, plus one interception. Zach Latimer and Demarrio Pleasant were also solid with eight tackles each.

One of the big stories this spring is the push by Clint Ingram to force Venables to keep three linebackers in the game on third down, rather than going to a nickel back.

Ingram has picked off several passes in coverage in practice, and did so today with one near interception and one perfectly timed pick.

Ingram has been so good in coverage this spring we asked him after practice if he was considering a move to defensive back.

"Nah, I've got my hands full playing linebacker," joked Ingram. "I was fortunate today. I seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

"This spring the game seems to have slowed down for me. I just understand better what's going on. I'm a little more comfortable with my drops, assignments and where I'm supposed to be. I'm having a lot of fun out there just flying around."

Ingram also talked about his push to play every down.

"I have talked to coach (Venables) about that and he has told me if I can prove to him that I can cover, that he'll leave me on the field. I hope I'm proving that to him."

"He's certainly giving us a lot more options, and I like to have options on defense," said Venables on Ingram. "Right now he does as good as our nickel backs in coverage. If he continues that, sure we'll leave three linebackers out there and the opposing offense won't know what we're trying to do.

"Clint is playing and competing so hard, and he's such a natural athlete," Venables continued. "He's one of the best athletes we have. It's just coming together for him. Sometimes that happens for an athlete."

Secondary
With the exception of the 66-yard touchdown pass to Wilson, who beat Lewis Baker to the ball deep in zone coverage, it was a good day for the secondary.

Both Eric Bassey and Chijioke Onyenegecha had a very good days in coverage, and backup safety Jason Carter stepped in front of a Rhett Bomar pass to stop a potential scoring drive and would've resulted in a 80-yard or so touchdown return.

Darrien Williams also continued his great spring. Williams made a great play over the middle, jumping in front of pass and sprinting off to the races for a 30-yard interception return. Williams also had one pass breakup.

"We were just trying to focus on not giving up the big play," Bassey said. "We gave up one, but we did a good job otherwise. We gave up a few more plays, but when you consider the number of plays that was run, it was a pretty good scrimmage for us."

Bassey also talked about the linebacker's success in coverage this spring.

"It's really helping us when our linebackers drop back like that because it shortens the area we have to cover. As long as we don't let people behind us, it means we have the athletes to cover people in front of us."

Carter and Onyenegecha led the secondary with seven tackles each, while Baker added five.

Special Teams
It was a so-so day for Garrett Hartley kicking field goals with the wind. Hartley, who connected on 15-of-21 kicks, missed from 29, 33, 37, 42 and 60. However, did he did hit several 40-yard plus kicks from 42, 47, 52, 56 and 60.

Cody Freeby also had a so-so day, with two kicks under 40 yards. However, Freeby also booted punts of 42, 46, 47 and 55 (twice), all with the wind.

Freeby also served as the holder for Hartley on kick-offs. In the first session of kicks before the scrimmage, Freeby was perfect on his holds, but during the second session midway through the scrimmage, there were several low snaps and botched holds.

On returns, it was Jejuan Rankins and Lendy Holmes returning punts. On kick-off returns it was and Travis Wilson, Rankins with the first group, and Holmes and Jacob Gutierrez returning on the second team. There were no tackles on returns.

The Sooners will return to the practice fields on Monday at 3:30 p.m.


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