NORMAN — Day two of fall practice didn't go exactly as planned as the workout was moved from the Rugby fields indoors to the Everest Training Center in the middle of the practice because of lightning.
Nevertheless, the weather didn't prevent the Sooners from working out in shorts, jerseys and helmets for a good two and a half hours on Friday.
"I loved practice today," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Guys are running around with a lot of energy. I feel like there's a lot of talent and speed. They're really picking things up well. We're really pleased."
The Sooners also had a couple of interesting visitors looking over practice on Friday. Two were recruits that you might expect to show up - Oklahoma City DT Gerald McCoy and Virginia WR Brandon Caleb - but the one you wouldn't expect to show up on a practice field in Norman, Okla. was wrestling star Ric Flair.
That's right, the 'Nature Boy' was in Norman, and apparently he and Stoops have some history.
"Ric's been a good friend back to our Florida days," Stoops said. "We used to hang out some down there when he would come to town. He was a big Florida fan at that time, now he says he's a South Carolina Sooner fan."
Getting back to Football, Stoops was asked about the Sooners' No. 5 ranking in the Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll.
"Like always, they're going to allow us to play. We'll go play and hoppefully move up from there. We've started out in worse spots."
Below is a position-by-position look at the major news and notes from each position during Friday's practice.
Please note that while we try to mention as many players as possible, we can't mention them all. If we do not mention a particular player it doesn't mean that they are not on the team or did not practice, it just means that we didn't observe them when we were watching their particular position that day.
Paul Thompson took the first reps with the first team on Thursday, but it was Rhett Bomar who took the first reps on Friday as the two will apparently alternate on a daily basis.
Overall, both quarterbacks looked great throwing during the one-on-one battles between the receivers and defensive backs, were almost equal in the 7-on-7 portion of practice, but it was Thompson who stood out in the team skeleton drills.
Thompson hit James Moses over the middle for a nice gain, ran a nice option play and pitched the ball to Jacob Gutierrez after passing the line of scrimmage on a nice play, and did a great job of setting up screen passes.
Thompson was also impressive on one play in the shotgun where he faked a handoff, then faked a draw and hit a wide open receiver on a 10-yard curl route, in a new wrinkle added to the OU offense.
In the team skel, Bomar threw two interceptions. Bomar overthrew a screen that was picked off by Eric Bassey, and was also intercepted over the middle by Darien Williams.
However, in the 7-on-7 portion of practice Bomar looked good hitting Travis Wilson.
Both quarterbacks also worked on the various aspects of the running game, practicing option pitches, but with mixed results. However, Bomar's best play of the day came on the run when he was flushed from the pocket, scrambled and broke free for what would've been a nice gain.
"They looked good," Stoops said. "They're learning. We just need to keep getting them snaps. I like their attitude and the way they are working."
Adrian Peterson may be a superstar off the field, but he certainly doesn't act like one on the field. Peterson, whose line of autograph seekers nearly doubled and tripled that of some of the other positions at Meet The Fan day on Friday, was back at it Friday night working harder than ever.
A couple of things that Peterson, along with the rest of the running back crew, got to work on Friday was catching passes and taking option pitches from the quaterbacks, which was quite a chore because the tosses weren't exactly coming from Jamelle Hollieway. Peterson showed he does have good hands, saving several bad pitches with nice catches and turning up-field.
Kejuan Jones also had a nice day catching the option pitch and passes and screens out of the backfield. Jones and Peterson also broke some nice runs up the middle during the team drill.
At fullback, you obviously know the man is J.D. Runnels, but true freshman Matt Clapp got some first team reps on the kick return team as one of the upbacks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
It was a good day for the more experienced group of receivers — Travis Wilson, Jejuan Rankins, Lendy Holmes and Quentin Chaney.
As for the freshman, it was Juaquin Iglesias who stood out to us today with a couple of nice grabs, one time shaking freshman corner Reggie Smith near the sideline for a nice catch and gain.
All in all, the greatest battles today came between the receivers and defensive backs in the one-on-one portion of the practice. The defensive backs did a great job of covering, but the receivers still seemed to make great plays.
On one play, Quentin Chaney made a great one-handed catch, despite blanket coverage by Chijioke Onyenegecha, for a big gain.
"Dang, you caught that?," said Onyenegecha. "I can't believe you caught that."
Jejuan Rankins made a beautiful shoestring catch over the middle, Holmes made a great catch in the one-on-one drills, and Wilson caught a deep pass on a corner route for what would've been a 50-yard touchdown. Walk-on receiver Jermaine Hardison also made some noise with a couple of nice catches.
Redhshirt freshman Fred Strong, pulled a muscle early in practice and did not return.
"I feel confident that there is a lot of ability there," said Stoops. "We just have to keep training it, making it consistent and making sure guys are in position all the time to make catches. They're working at it, but it looks good in just a couple of days."
At tight end, it was a good day for everyone involved as even true freshman Aaron Cummings caught a pass in the 7-on-7 drill.
"They're doing better," said tight end coach Kevin Sumlin on his group. "They're maturing and they have an understanding of the offense. Joe Jon (Finley) is about 245 pounds. If he can hold it, that would be great. Bubba (Moses) is the most solid player we have in all aspects, and Willie Roberts is a tremendously improved player. And I've been impressed with Aaron Cummings. He has good hands, size and moves well."
The first team line today was the same as it was on Thursday, with Chris Bush at center, Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Chester at guard, and Davin Joseph and Akim Millington at tackle.
However, there was some movement on the second team today. Getting some reps today on the second team line for the first time was juco transfer Brandon Keith, who worked at guard. True freshmen Jesse White and Jon Cooper also worked with the second team at center.
J.D Quinn and Ben Barresi worked on the second team at guard, while Brett Rayl, Brandonn Braxton and Chris Messner rotated at tackle.
As for their performance, it's always tough to tell when they're not working out in full pads, but the line did seem to make some nice holes inside for Peterson and Jones to run through.
Working with the first team at tackle Friday was Carl Pendleton and Remi Ayodele, followed by Steven Coleman and Cory Bennett, and then true freshmen DeMarcus Granger, Brian Simmons and Billy Blackard.
Dusty Dvoracek went through some drills and sat out others, but you can bet that when he's ready to go he'll be running with the first unit.
At defensive end, Chris Wilson shook some things up today by moving Larry Birdine to the second team and playing John Williams and C.J. AhYou on the first unit. And both responded with a sack during the team drills.
However, you can't keep Birdine down, or quiet, for long as he sniffed out a screen pass for a nice stop and then proclaimed to the offensive players, "Not in my house! Not in my house baby!"
Cordero Moore also made a nice play getting out and preventing Jacob Gutierrez from taking an option pitch for a touchdown.
Rufus Alexander didn't quite have his spot on the first team back on Friday, but he did rotate in with Zach Latimer, Demarrio Pleasant and Clint Ingram on the first unit.
And the three freshmen — Curtis Lofton, Lamont Robinson and Ryan Reynolds — each worked together on the second team.
What a battle it was on Friday between the defensive backs and wide receivers. Truth be told, the defensive backs more than held their own, but were often times the victims of great catches by the receivers.
However, they did have their bright spots. Marcus Walker looked great in the one-on-one drills, D.J. Wolfe picked off a pass a deep Thompson pass intended for Iglesias, and Eric Bassey intercepted a screen pass.
True freshman Reggie Smith had another good practice making several nice plays in coverage and was seemingly draped all over his man even when getting beat.
Walker, along with Bassey, were still the starters at corner. However, there was a change with the first unit at safety where Tony Cade replaced Darien Williams on the first unit and started alongside Lewis Baker.
Williams, who we believe was demoted because of busted assignments, worked on the second team with Jason Carter. Williams, however, did bounce back and recorded a nice interception when he stepped in front of a receiver over the middle.
"Those guys are both still working for jobs. Nothing has been settled there," said Stoops on the battle between Williams and Cade.
Juco transfer Mike Knall and Cody Freeby punted the ball for the first time on Friday, but special teams coach Kevin Sumlin isn't concerned with their results at this point.
"Right now they're wokring more on the return game this week," Sumlin said. "Those guys are punting the ball a little, but the wind came up so much you couldn't evaluate it. We will really start evaluating those guys next week."
As for Knall, the Arizona native worked as the holder on field goals Friday, a duty that was performed by Freeby during the Spring.
Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins worked as the first team kick returners. Lendy Holmes and Reggie Smith were their back-ups followed by Allen Patrick and Jacob Gutierrez.
As for the punt return job, it appears to be a four-man race between Rankins, Holmes, Smith and Jason Carter.
The Sooners will practice again tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. and wear the shoulder pads for the first time this Fall.
Friday's (8/5) Practice Report
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