NORMAN — It's officially football time in Oklahoma.
The dog days of summer officially ended Thursday as the Oklahoma football team braved the 95-degree heat for a two hour and 15 minute workout in shorts, jerseys and helmets.
And Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was pleased with what he saw.
"The practice was good," Stoops said. "The retention was outstanding. That's important because, as I say every year, we don't have to waste a bunch of time teaching plays and assignments or teaching how to run a drill.
"You could tell the young guys have worked this summer because they know how to run the drills, and when we call an alignment it's not foreign to them. You can tell they've been working hard this summer on assignments."
Stoops also took a moment to talk about his highly touted freshman group.
"Our freshmen group looks fantastic," said Stoops. "They have just been great this summer. They looked great today. Shoot, we really think it's going to be a special group. Schmidty (OU strength coach Jerry Schmidt) brags on them all the time."
See below for a position-by-position look from Thursday's practice.
You're probably wondering who looked the best today, but the big story for us is who wasn't at practice.
You've probably already heard the news that Tommy Grady's intercession courses will keep him from attending the first few days of class, but we learned today that his classes will go through August 19, which would knock him out of the first two weeks of practice and make it impossible for him to win the job. Grady will also miss this Saturday's practice to attend a class, but will not have to attend the course the next two Saturday's. Stay tuned...
As for the quarterback's performances today, well, it was simply too close to call. With Grady out, Thompson and Bomar got all of the reps and each had their moments. Thompson, however, was the first quarterback to work with the first team and then Bomar rotated in every other drill.
However, one interesting observer with some football knowledge — Doug Switzer — offered his two cents on the quarterback race after watching today's practice.
Switzer, a former college quarterback, and of course son of Barry Switzer, said he gives the slight nod to Bomar after today's practice. His reasoning? Switzer said that both QBs looked good in virtually every drill, but the difference to him was how Bomar looked and reacted when things broke down around him.
Switzer also said, "Where Rhett also looked good, and not to say that Paul didn't, but Bomar has that great ability to place the ball with enough touch to get it over the defender."
As for practice itself, Bomar looked great throwing the ball in the one-on-one passing drills that pitted the receivers against the defensive backs, while Thompson hooked up with Travis Wilson for the play of the day on a deep post route.
Both quarterbacks also worked a bunch on individual drills to help showcase their running ability. They even ran a couple of sprint options with Bomar in the skelly drills, and Thompson would've scored on a quarterback draw on one play.
Adrian Peterson is back. We would say he looked better than ever, but is it really possible for AD to look any better? Peterson amazed the nation last season and even managed to amaze his head coach Thursday before practice even started.
During this morning's team testing, Peterson wowed the coaches with a 43 second time in the shuttle. What's the shuttle?
The shuttle drill is where the player runs downfield 60 yards, then turns and comes back. The player goes down and back twice and then finishes with a fifth and final leg of 60 yards. In all, it's about 300 yards of running. On two different attempts in the shuttle, Peterson averaged an amazing time of 43 seconds.
"AD was just incredible," Stoops said on his shuttle performance. "Shoot, he ran a 43 second shuttle time. The way we do our shuttles, that's an incredible time."
Stoops also commented on Peterson's status coming off of shoulder surgery.
"You watch AD and he looks fantastic running the ball. He's such a natural that it's almost unbelievable sometimes."
Behind Peterson at running back was Kejuan Jones, followed by Donta Hickson and Jacob Gutierrez.
At fullback, it was J.D. Runnels followed by Russell Dennison, Dane Zaslaw, Jordan Greene and freshman Matt Clapp.
Clapp looked good running through drills, but got a rude awakening when he tried to field a kick during the kick-off drills.
"No! No! No! No! No!" screamed one coach. "You never catch a kick-off!"
Welcome to Divsion 1 football Matt.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
Fred Strong was at practice and is eligible to play this season, but the status of Tristen Ross is still up in the air. Ross, who wasn't at practice, is still listed on the roster but still has work to do to become eligible. Stay turned.
Working with the first group today was Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins, followed by Lendy Holmes and Quentin Chaney.
Rankins, who appears to have lost some weight since last spring, looked great today catching the ball along with Wilson.
Wilson, however, twisted his right ankle early in practice. He quickly got it taped and fought through the rest of the practice without missing a rep, but was noticeably hobbled throughout the workout.
Quentin Chaney was also impressive today catching the ball over the middle.
As for the newcomers, let's just say the future looks very bright. Malcolm Kelly already looks to have the size and speed and did a nice job today competing on his routes and wining some battles against Marcus Walker and Reggie Smith. Eric Huggins looks to be a tad skinny, but he is a burner with great height who seems to run his routes with ease.
At tight end, it was Bubba Moses leading the way followed by Willie Roberts and Joe Jon Finley. We didn't notice Aaron Cummings today and will try to look out for him tomorrow.
Starting with the first unit today was Chris Bush at center, Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Chester at guard, and Davin Joseph and Akim Millington at tackle. Chris Messner also worked some with the first time at tackle.
On the second team, it was Jon Cooper and Jesse White alternating at center, J.D. Quinn and Brett Rayl at guard, and Messner and Brandonn Braxton at tackle.
We also got our first look at junior college lineman Brandon Keith. Keith is definitely a big cat out there, but it appears that he's going to be slowly worked into the line-up at guard and tackle.
Dusty Dvoracek is back and wearing a big bandage on his arm, but went through just about every rep except the team drills. From what we learned today, Dvoracek is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation and could be ready for the season opener.
As for the healthy defensive tackles, Remi Ayodele and Carl Pendleton started on the first team and were followed by Cory Bennett and Steven Coleman, and then DeMarcus Granger, Billy Blackard and Brian Simmons.
Speaking of Granger and Simmons, these are two big cats, but in different ways. Simmons is looks more like a flat-bellied 300-pound weightlifter, while Granger looks more like Moe Dampeer, but in better shape if you know what we mean.
At defensive end, it was Larry Birdine and Calvin Thibodeaux working with the first unit followed by C.J. AhYou and John Williams. Alonzo Dotson, whose eligibility was in question prior to the start of practice, is eligible and was at practice working on the second team along with Williams and AhYou.
The only major note to come out of this group on Thursday was the fact that Demarrio Pleasant replaced Rufus Alexander on the first team.
Now, we don't expect that to stick, but every year there are a few players who have to earn back spots because of some missed summer workouts, and this is one of those cases.
Joining Pleasant on the first unit was Zach Latimer and Clint Ingram. Curtis Lofton, Ryan Reynolds and Lamont Robinson also got reps with the second team.
This is a spot where a true freshman could emerge, and we've already learned that Edmond, Okla. native Reggie Smith is on the verge of making that move.
Smith, who worked with the corners on Thursday and nearly picked off two passes, has managed to impress the coaches enough for them to say he has a great shot at being the nickel back and being a factor on next year's secondary.
Starting at corner today was Eric Bassey (boundary) and Marcus Walker (wide-side). Chijioke Onyenegecha worked as the second team boundary corner, while Smith was third. The second team wide-side corner was D.J. Wolfe, who was followed by Jowahn Poteat.
Brian Jackson, another freshman that has impressed the coaches, also worked some at the boundary corner slot.
At safety, it was Darien Williams and Lewis Baker starting on the first team followed by Jason Carter and Tony Cade. The third unit consisted of true freshmen Nic Harris and Kennan Clayton.
We didn't get to see Garrett Hartley, now wearing No. 10, kicking field goals at the beginning of practice, but he was so good on kick-offs that they had to move the ball from the 35 to the 25-yard line so that they could get a return set up.
The first team kick returners today were Jejuan Rankins and Travis Wilson, followed by Lendy Holmes and Jacob Gutierrez. Reggie Smith and Allen Patrick also worked some on kick returns.
The kick return team consisted of Zach Latimer, Tony Cade, Clint Ingram, D.J. Wolfe and Demarrio Pleasant on the front line, Joe Jon Finley and Willie Roberts on the second line, and J.D. Runnels and Russell Dennison on the third line.
Friday's practice is set for 5:30 p.m.
Thursday's (8/4) Practice Report
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
Video: Joe Mixon with historic outing for OUOU coach Bob Stoops talks about the huge performance running back Joe Mixon had in Sooners 66-59 win at Texas Tech.
Sooners Illustrated2:50 PM
Home sweet home in Lubbock for Baker MayfieldA sweeter reunion there couldn't have been for OU quarterback Baker Mayfield in his return to Lubbock.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 11:23 PM
Video: Bob Stoops after 66-59 win at TechOU coach Bob Stoops' opening statement following Sooners wild 66-59 victory at Texas Tech.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 10:43 PM
Video: Baker Mayfield on record-setting nightOU quarterback Baker Mayfield talks about his record-setting seven-touchdown performance against Texas Tech in his return to Lubbock.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 10:30 PM
OU commits Barnes, Rising with major injuriesOU commits Robert Barnes and Cameron Rising both suffered major injuries Friday evening.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 2:33 PM