Thursday Evening (8/11) Practice Report

Bob Stoops, Jackie Shipp and Lewis Baker talk about Thursday evening's practice.

Norman, Okla. — Two days of two-a-days down, one to go.

The Oklahoma football team completed their second day of two-a-days this fall in shoulder pads and shorts Thursday night in Norman.

The Sooners will return to the practice field tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m. for the lone session of the day before Saturday's scrimmage.

Here is a list of the players that were limited or did not practice on Thursday night: RB Donta Hickson, RB Kejuan Jones, OL Ben Baressi, WR Malcolm Kelly and DE Larry Birdine.

See below for a position-by-position look at the highlights from Thursday night's practice.

Quarterbacks
Score Thursday night's workout in the win column for Rhett Bomar.

Bomar did throw two interceptions in the red zone drill, one off a receivers' hands that should've been caught, but was nearly perfect through the rest of the workout making some passes that not many other quarterbacks can throw.

The big play of the day for the Grand Prairie, Texas native came with the offense backed up to the one yard-line. Well, Bomar threw a perfectly lobbed pass to Travis Wilson for what probably would've been a 99-yard touchdown connection.

Bomar's interception went off the fingertips of Lendy Holmes and into the hands of a defender, but redshirt freshman came right back with the same call on the next play and hit Holmes again, and then celebrated by tapping his teammate on the helmet.

Bomar also looked good hitting the short stuff connecting on curls and out routes, and hitting Joe Jon Finley over the middle for a touchdown in the red zone drill.

The redshirt freshman also showed his scrambling ability on one play after being flushed out of the pocket, getting to the edge and turning down the sideline for a big gain.

Thompson, on the other hand, was solid but not spectacular. Thompson hit Willie Roberts on a seam route for a touchdown and threw a great curl pass to Eric Huggins in the red zone drill.

Running Backs/Fullbacks
It seems like we're starting to sa this every day, but Adrian Peterson looked awesome.

With Jones and Hickson out, Peterson got a lot of reps and looked unbelievable once again exploding through the line at times and high-stepping and prancing down the field.

It's also not fair to the defenders that they're not allowed to tackle Peterson with everything they've got, because quite frankly that's the only thing that will bring the big cat down.

On one play, Peterson caught a screen pass, turned up-field, and when Darien Williams tried to take him head on, Peterson lowered his shoulder and literally ran over him.

"He's a fluid runner," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "I know sometimes it's not fair when you get him into these kinds of situations. When you're a defensive back, you're at a disadvantage in drills like these. You need to watch what you're doing (laughs)."

On another play, Peterson zipped by Eric Bassey so fast the corner back barked, "Whoo! AD looks good! AD looks good!"

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
As you read above, Travis Wilson had the big play of the day with what might've been a 99-yarder on a perfect pass from Bomar.

Jejuan Rankins caught a slip screen, juked the corner and picked up 15 yards on a great play.

Lendy Holmes, Joe Jon Finley and Willie Roberts also caught touchdown passes.

Offensive Linemen
With center Chris Bush limited while nursing an ankle injury, the Sooners moved Chris Chester to center, Davin Joseph to guard, and started Chris Messner at tackle along with Akim Millington at tackle and Kelvin Chaisson at the other guard spot.

One the second team today, it was Brandonn Braxton and Duke Robinson at tackle, J.D. Quinn and Jon Cooper at guard and Jesse White at center.

One player who is really standing out so far this fall is Akim Millington. Millington may not be at Jammal Brown's level yet, but he certainly appears to be on the same path. He's having a great camp.

The most impressive play today from the linemen was a block by Chris Bush, who was outside blocking on the screen pass to Peterson and paved the way for him to run over Williams.

Defensive Linemen
John Williams continued his strong play at defensive end this fall getting pressure on the QBs several times and batting down one pass. Calvin Thibodeaux also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

Inside, it was another good workout for Cory Bennett, Remi Ayodele and Steven Coleman.

With Coleman, who had two sacks today against the second team offensive line, Ayodele, Bennett and Carl Pendleton, Jackie Shipp has a strong nucleus of healthy young d-tackles to rotate between the first and second team this spring.

"We're doing well. We're getting better," said Shipp. "We're playing with good pad level. Our last two practices have probably been our best. We have four guys going right now, and with Dusty we have five, but those four that are practicing are doing a heck of a job. When Dusty gets back soon that's going to be a good group to work with. And the young guys are learning. They're going to be alright."

Shipp also talked about the progress of Ayodele, Coleman and Bennett from the spring to now.

"They have an understanding now. I laugh at people sometimes that think we're just running up the field. You have to understand how many times we talk about blocking angles, backfield sets, formations, playing low and keeping your feet in front of you. Getting them to understand blocking angles and playing fast takes time."

As for Bennett, the redshirt freshman had another great practice today and is beating the odds somewhat as OU's smallest defensive tackle.

"He does a good job," Shipp said. "He has a chance to be a very good player. If he keeps working like he is and the Good Lord keeps him happy, everything is going to be alright."

As for Shipp himself, he's a different breed of coach in that he yells a lot, but it's usually words of encouragement rather than criticism.

"I've already lost my voice," said Shipp. "You push them so hard, but coaching is really teaching. It doesn't matter if you're a businessman, a doctor or a lawyer. If you're a teacher, you've got to encourage them because you want them to succeed."

Linebackers
Not much news here, other than the fact that freshman linebacker Ryan Reynolds was limited in tonight's practice.

When the defense went to their nickel package, it was Rufus Alexander and Clint Ingram in the line-up.

Freshman linebacker Curtis Lofton intercepted the pass off of Lendy Holmes' hands in the red zone drill.

Back-up linebacker Demarrio Pleasant dislocated his finger on one play, had it popped back in but did not return. His status is unknown at this time.

Secondary
Eric Bassey returned to practice full-time on Thursday and celebrated with an interception in the one-on-one drills. Jason Carter also picked off a pass.

When the Sooners went to the nickel, it was Darien Williams and Lewis Baker at safety, Chijioke Onyenegecha and Marcus Walker at corner, and Reggie Smith as the nickel back.

When OU went to the dime, it was the same secondary with Nic Harris in as the dime back and either one of the linebackers or defensive tackles taken out of the game.

After practice, Bob Stoops talked about the progress of the secondary this fall.

"They're coming along fine," Stoops said. "In fact, I think they're playing well. D.J. Wolfe has made some big strides and Chijioke is a guy that looks like he is a different player this year. He's playing better. And we need to get Bassey back. The young guys, they've really been impressive too. I think we're going to be strong."

One player who has been strong this spring and kept his starting spot despite the fact everyone is saying he will lose it is safety Lewis Baker. However, Baker struggled some on Thursday giving up two big plays over the middle to the tight ends.

Nevertheless, Baker has had a great spring and the Lewisville, Texas native talked about his new home at safety after practice.

"Yeah, I feel good at safety," said Baker. "The transition wasn't too hard for me. I played linebacker, so we stressed fundamentals. I've been doing that my whole life. I knew how to read quarterbacks, so making the transition was easy for me.

"I just had to change my habits because I was a downhill guy at linebacker, and now I have to backpeddle at safety. I love to hit, but I have to realize that I need to be more patient, slow down and let the plays come to me."

Special Teams
Garrett Hartley had a great day kicking field goals Thursday morning, and he followed it up with a great night on kick-offs.

Wherever the Sooners wanted him to kick it, to the left corner, right corner or through the end zone, Hartley was on target. Hartley boomed several kick-offs a good seven-yards deep into the end zone.

Joining Hartley on the kick coverage team was (left to right): Jason Carter, Travis Wilson, Eric Bassey, Zach Latimer, Russell Dennison, Demarrio Pleasant, D.J. Wolfe, Allen Patrick, Tony Cade and Marcus Walker.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories