Wednesday (8/10) Practice Report

Bob Stoops, Jejuan Rankins. D.J. Wolfe and Chris Wilson talk about Wednesday's practice.

Norman, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team conducted their first practice in full pads on Wednesday, and with that came the tradition of going through the famous 'Oklahoma Drill'.

"Usually, we do it the first day of pads," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "But we had that scrimmage so we didn't. And then the next day was a two-a-day so we couldn't get to it until today. Everybody in the country starts off two-a-days at some point with full pads with the Oklahoma Drill. Certainly, the Sooners have to."

Below is a list of players who either missed practice Wednesday or were limited and held out of contact drills: OL Ben Barresi, DE Larry Birdine, WR Fred Strong, RB Kejuan Jones, RB Donta Hickson, CB Eric Bassey, DT Dusty Dvoracek and OL Brandon Keith.

Quarterbacks
There's not much to write about here, as it was a rather uneventful day for the quarterbacks.

Paul Thompson threw the only interception of the day, but other than that neither of the quarterbacks really did anything to distance themselves from the other.

On one play, Bomar showed his scrambling ability getting outside and away from a rushing defensive end, turning the corner and getting up field for what could've been a big gain.

Running Backs/Fullbacks
Up until today Adrian Peterson had been held out of a lot of Oklahoma's running plays so that he could stay as fresh as possible for the season, but with Jones and Hickson out he got a majority of the snaps.

Peterson also got a lot of reps and chances to catch the ball in the two-minute drill. By our count, Peterson had two catches, but did drop one pass over the middle.

As for the Oklahoma drill, it was a good day for fullbacks J.D. Runnels and Matt Clapp, who won both of their battles.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wednesday wasn't the greatest day for the receivers with the defensive backs having one of their better workouts thus far this fall.

However, Quentin Chaney stood out the most to us. On one sequence, the redshirt freshman caught a nice slant route from Bomar and then a big 25-yard pass from Thompson.

Oklahoma's tight ends each got a lot of work and chances to catch the ball in the two-minute drill, and all four made catches.

We told you yesterday about Darrell Wyatt's comments appointing Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins as the leaders of not only the receiving corp, but perhaps the entire team. Well, today we talked with Rankins about Wyatt's comments and his progress so far this fall.

"We don't have Mark Clayton, Brandon Jones, a Mark Bradley or a Will Peoples. We're the only two left so we have to step up and provide leadership," Rankins said. "I want the coaches to have confidence to throw it to me. I want the ball. I want to be the go-to guy. I don't mind that at all. I hope it happens.

"I'm playing with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because of what people have said about me in the past. I think I can be a dominant player here. I want to have a big year."

Rankins also pointed out that despite the fact a lot of the team is banged up, his health is just fine.

"Everybody is a little nicked up right now because it's football," Rankins said. "But I feel really good. It's probably the best I've felt in a couple of years.

True freshman Malcolm Kelly, who missed the last four workouts, returned to practice on Wednesday night.

Offensive Linemen
There weren't any big changes on the offensive line today, other than the fact that Brandonn Braxton returned to practice and drew praise from Bob Stoops after the workout.

Duke Robinson continued his strong play and had a great day in the Oklahoma drill pancaking one defender and beating his man again the next time around. Davin Jospeh also won both of his battles in the Oklahoma drill.

On the second team, the Sooners experimented some with Jon Cooper at guard and Jesse White at center. Offensive line coach Kevin Wilson pointed out that, along with Cooper, he loves White's potential, except that he needs to get better at snapping in the shot gun.

As for the Brandon Keith watch, the juco transfer was not at practice again on Wednesday. Bob Stoops said that the coaches still haven't heard from him, but we're hearing rumors now that Keith may end up playing for Chuck Langston at UCO.

One other note, senior guard Brett Rayl is having his best fall camp yet and could be moving his way into contention for a spot in Wilson's rotation.

Defensive Linemen
Senior defensive tackle Remi Ayodele continues to have a great camp, along with sophomore Steven Coleman, who received constant praise from Jackie Shipp today.

Shipp also spent some time working with his young defensive tackles — DeMarcus Granger, Billy Blackard and Brian Simmons — during practice on the mental aspects of the game.

"You're not in high school," Shipp told his young tackles. "You've got to pick it up. Keep getting after it."

At defensive end, new coach Chris Wilson isn't concerned about Larry Birdine's arm injury. Birdine's arm has been in a sling since Tuesday morning's practice.

"It's nothing serious," Wilson said. "We should have him back in a few days, if we need to get him back."

Wilson also talked about the progress of his ends this fall.

"We think we have good talent," Wilson said. "We have to learn to get more consistent and play with more intelligence. We have a corp group of Birdine, (C.J.) Ah You, (Calvin) Thibodeaux and (John) Williams. I think we're pretty good. Outside of that group, we have more talent, but it just needs to get more consistent."

Linebackers
Clint Ingram had a nice day in the Oklahoma drill, as well as in pass coverage with Rufus Alexander.

Freshman middle linebacker Curtis Lofton also got some reps with the first unit at middle linebacker for the first time this fall.

Secondary
As we've mentioned above, it was a great day for the secondary. They only picked off one pass, but it seemed like they were knocking passes away from the receivers all night long.

D.J. Wolfe picked off the only pass, and Chijioke Onyenegecha and Marcus Walker each recorded several pass break-ups and tight coverage, especially in the two-minute drill and short-yardage portion of practice.

Make no mistake about it; Wolfe is now a factor at corner, even with a healthy Marcus Walker. Like we said, he picked off the only pass and is as physical of a corner as the Sooners have on their roster.

Wolfe talked about his transformation to cornerback from running back after practice.

"I'm just trying to do the very best I can," said the sophomore from Lawton. "I'm learning every day something new about this position. It's not an easy position for me to play, but it's becoming easier. I studied and worked hard over the spring and summer, and now I'm trying to work hard in camp."

Wolfe also said his heart is definitely at cornerback.

"I'm a cornerback now. This is all I think about. This is all I've trained for. My head coach is here from high school today and he told me if he would've known that I was this good on defense, he would've played me more on defense."

One other somewhat major note in the secondary was the move of freshman Reggie Smith from corner to free safety. We don't know if the move is permanent or an experimental one, but the Edmond native sure looked like a natural in the back end. But then again, he's looked like a natural at corner the first six days thus far this fall.

Special Teams
Not much news here, other than the fact that it was a nice day for Cody Freeby again, and Mike Knall had his best punt of the fall somewhere in the 52-55 yard range.

Jejuan Rankins, Lendy Holmes and Reggie Smith all continued to alternate reps returning punts. Darrell Wyatt says he hasn't made a decision yet on who will handle the job, but that all three still have a good chance.

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