Norman, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team completed the first day of two-a-days with a relatively light workout despite working out in full pads Tuesday night.
Other than the quarterback race and the position battles in the secondary, one of the major stories so far this fall is the amount of injured players OU is accumulating. Again, none of the injuries appear to be serious or season threatening, but the list is beginning to pile at this point.
Added to the list tonight was defensive end Larry Birdine, who had his arm in a sling at practice. Apparently, Birdine stretched some ligaments while attempting to tackle Travis Wilson in the morning workout Tuesday.
Senior running back Kejuan Jones was wearing a boot on his foot for the second straight practice, but his injury is not thought to be serious at this time.
Other players missing practice, or portions of it, this evening were: WR Malcolm Kelly, WR Jermaine Hardison, DB Brett Bowers, OL Ben Barresi, OL Brandonn Braxton, DB Eric Bassey and LB Kyle Peterson.
Once again, both quarterbacks threw the ball well, but we're going to give a very slight nod to Paul Thompson tonight.
Thompson did throw one interception that was tipped by a linebacker and picked off, but other than that he was lights out, especially in the red zone and goal-line portions of practice throwing several touchdown passes.
Another difference tonight that we noticed was that Thompson was exceptional at finding his last option at the end of a play to pick up four and five yards and keep the chains moving, whereas Bomar would wait and then still go for the 15-yard route at the end of a play. Thompson was able to keep more drives going throwing short tonight.
But that's not to say that Bomar wasn't good today, because he was. Bomar hit Manuel Johnson for a deep touchdown pass, moved the ball well in the red zone drills, and even scrambled a couple of times, once on an option keeper from the 8-yard line, for what probably would've been a touchdown in full-contact.
Bomar also heated up in the team drills, finding Adrian Peterson on a screen pass that might have went for a touchdown, hitting Quentin Chaney in the corner of the end zone for a TD, and running a draw that probably would've ended in a touchdown.
Thompson hit Wilson deep twice, once for a touchdown, Rankins deep for a touchdown, and Finley, Moses Wilson for touchdowns in the red zone.
Adrian Peterson is healthy, but there's no doubt he's under a tight leash. AD went through all of the individual drills, but only participated in the team drills in passing situations, where he caught three passes by our count.
With Peterson sitting out running plays and Jones out, walk-on Jermaine Snell got some action tonight and came through in the clutch with a one-yard touchdown run.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Overall, it was a great night for the receivers, especially Jejuan Rankins and Travis Wilson, who made several big plays during the workout.
Darrell Wyatt talked about his two starters after practice.
"I'm really proud of Travis and Jejuan for the leadership that they are showing," Wyatt said. "Chuck (Long) mentioned to me this morning how proud he is of them because they have become leaders for the football team in general.
"People tend to forget that Travis and Jejuan are seasoned veterans. They have played in big games — three BCS bowl games. They've all had double-digit starts and made big catches in big games. We are just looking forward to watching them lead our team. They are having an unbelievable camp and have been two of the best players out here on the field. In every practice, they have been outstanding."
Wyatt also talked about his tremendous freshmen class, including redshirt freshmen Quentin Chaney and Lendy Holmes.
"I think the young guys have really come on and demonstrated they can make some plays. I'm excited about them, as well as Quentin and Lendy — two guys who this spring had their moments and carried it on into camp. They are all making some quality catches."
Wyatt talked further about his crop of true freshmen.
"They maybe have exceeded their press clippings. They have been coming out and making plays going up against veteran defensive backs that have played in big games and made plays. They have not backed down. They have been a little raw, but they are really competing well and are making special plays in every practice."
Will any of the true frosh break the line-up come gametime against TCU?
"There's still a lot of football to be played, but when the time is right we'll make those decisions. Certainly, all four of those guys have demonstrated that they want to play early, and if we feel they're ready we'll give them that chance."
Day three of the Brandon Keith watch ended with the juco lineman missing in action yet again. After practice, OU head coach Bob Stoops was asked about Keith's status.
Stoops said he's assuming Keith has quit, but they don't know for sure because no one from the staff has heard from him.
As for the linemen who attended practice, the first team stayed the same but there was another experiment on the second unit.
Freshman center Jon Cooper moved to guard, which allowed fellow freshman Jesse White to play center for most of the practice.
There wasn't much contact tonight on the defensive line, other than the fact that we thought it was a good night for freshman defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger. Remi Ayodele also continues to impress and hold his starting position.
As for the defensive ends, new coach Chris Wilson is pleased with what he's seen from his group thus far.
"I think we've got a chance to be a real good unit with 'Bird' (Larry Birdine). And let me tell you something, John Williams and C.J. Ah You are really playing well. And I don't want to leave out 'Thibs' (Calvin Thibodeaux). We also need to get Alonzo (Dotson) totally healthy.
Wilson also isn't afraid to run his guys after practice.
"If we make any kind of mental error, we run. Mental errors are what get you beat. OU didn't lose to USC because of physical errors, but mental errors. We're striving to make those improvements this year."
Again, not a big day for the linebackers with the lack of contact.
However, Zach Latimer did tip one Paul Thompson pass that was picked off by Clint Ingram. And Rufus Alexander, as usual, was also very active.
Curtis Lofton and Ryan Reynolds also looked the part and appear to be picking up the system nicely.
Truth be told, it wasn't a great night for the secondary, as was evidenced by the sound of Bobby Jack Wright's voice most of the evening. The secondary gave up a couple of deep balls and several scores in the red zone drill.
However, it was another good night for Chijioke Onyenegecha, who seems to be gaining confidence at corner. Chijioke and Marcus Walker started at corner for most of the night on Tuesday. And true freshman Reggie Smith finally showed he was human giving up a couple of deep passes.
At safety, it was still Darien Williams and Lewis Baker running with the first unit, followed by Tony Cade and Jason Carter, and then Nic Harris and Keenan Clayton.
For the second straight practice, Cody Freeby put a nice effort together punting the ball. Freeby clearly has the bigger leg of between he and Mike Knallm and showed it today with several consistent punts.
Freeby has always had a good leg and if he can just get more consistent, which he has shown the last two workouts, he could be one of the Big 12's best.
What's interesting to note is that Freeby's improvement came after a stern talking he and the other kickers received from Merv Johnson Tuesday morning.
Tuesday Evening (8/9) Practice Report
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