It was a spirited practice today with the team going at it in full pads once again. Several scraps broke out during the two and a half hour practice.
The first was a barrage of words between WIll Peoples and Derrick Strait. Strait was doing rehab with Coach Schmidt when Peoples ran over and said, "Why don't you do something constructive?" Strait replied, "I will... When I'm finished, and back out there, I'm going to go to work on you!"
A little later, during 11-on-11, Vince Carter and Tommie Harris locked 'em up after a play drawing shouts of encouragement from both sides. Then, the receivers and defensive backs went after it, with Brandon Jones and Brandon Shelby locking up, soon followed by Will Peoples and Antonio Perkins. The latter looked like a scene from The Crocodile Hunter with Peoples getting caught up in a crocodile death roll by the smaller Perkins.
The offensive and defensive units lined up and jawed at each other right before 11-on-11. The players are practicing hard, but having fun as well.
Brandon Everage is the emotional leader. He's always excited and having fun out there. On one occasion, the offense ran an option out of the shotgun and we all know from the Air Force game last year, that Everage loves the option. He lined up, the quarterback pulled off at the last second Everage yelled, "Pick up a phone... CALL 911!!!"
Today's practice definitely belonged to the offense and the offensive line. The quarterbacks had no interceptions all day. Each quarterback worked mostly underneath, though effectively. There were only two throws of more than 20 yards. The first was on a post/corner route by Peoples that got behind Woolfolk and McCoy. It was a great throw by Jason White. The second big play came on a "pump and go" to Curtis Fagan, who got behind Bobby Klinck. Brent Rawls put just the right amount of air underneath it to catch Fagan right in stride behind the defense.
Nate Hybl had some nice throws on a few hook routes and slants, but never seemed to wait long enough for the deeper routes to break open.
Rawls by far has the strongest arm. There is a big difference in the football's velocity when the big freshman is throwing it. Sometimes the ball tends to sail on him on the shorter routes, but when they don't, the ball gets there so fast, the receivers seem to have more room to run.
Jason White was the most consistent on Thursday. He went through all of the agility drills today and looked good doing it. He is obviously not moving at 100 percent, but the fact he's able to complete is a great sign. Again, like Tuesday, he put the ball where it needed to be, and did so the most frequently.
The offensive line was very effective today. Jammal Brown especially.
"That a boy J.B.", was heard numerous times on Thursday by Coach Wilson. With Mangino's departure, bellowing tantrums have been replaced with constant encouragement and reinforcement. Despite the stellar group of D-lineman the Sooners throw out there, the offensive line more than held their own protecting and blocking. Most of the day the Sooner offense went out of a shotgun one back spread, mixing quick handoffs and slants, hooks, crosses, curls, and out routes very effectively.
I noticed more than once both guards effectively trapping inside on the quick hitting running plays. Kelvin Chaisson and Mike Skinner both showed well today, as did Vince Carter and Wes Sims.
The Sooner offense also caught the defense off guard a few times with a one back, two tight end twin, two wide receiver set with both tight ends and one receiver on the strong side of the formation. The majority of the offensive plays were run with a one back set (TB), with some two-tailback sets mixed in.
Jerad Estus continues to show his explosiveness. He and "Q" really explode through the line of scrimmage. Renaldo Works ran really hard today and looked good also. Dante Hickson didn't waste his opportunities either. On one occasion, he took a shuffle pass from Jason White and exploded downfield for a 15 to 20-yard gain, showing good acceleration.
The wide receivers and tight ends dropped fewer balls today. Mark Clayton really showed his athleticism and hands on numerous underneath routes.
Will Peoples continues to show he's dangerous, getting behind the first team defense on one occasion. Trent Smith, Lance Donley, Chris Chester, and James Moses all worked open on shorter routes today. This is a deep and talented group, that continues to impress.
On the defensive side, things were not as sharp. The linebackers, all of them really, were constantly being redirected to line up properly. The defensive line got caught shifting late more than a few times also. Mike Stoops and Bobby Jack Wright may be hoarse tonight from the amount of "encouragement" the defense received today.
There were bright spots however. Tommie
Harris was a nuisance in the backfield (when not being trapped). Clinton Ingram continues to show his range and athleticism in the middle. As do Lehman, Mitchell, and Pasha Jackson.
Eric Bassey really looks comfortable playing the nickel back position. Athletically, he ranks right up there with anyone.
The starting secondary of Perkins(LCB), Woolfolk(RCB), Everage(FS), and McCoy(SS) kept everything underneath them except for one play. Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how the defense reacts to today's practice.
Dusty Dvoracek, Kejuan Jones, and Derrick Strait did not practice. Jowahn Poteat went through some of the position drills, but did not do any contact drills.
The team will go at it again on Tuesday at 3:30. Look for Coach Stoops to be sporting a hat, not a visor... a 2002 Basketball National Championship hat that is.
Spring Football: 3/28 Practice Report
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