Friday (8/12) Practice Report

Bob Stoops, Rhett Bomar, Bobby Jack Wright and Brent Venables talk about Friday's practice. Bomar (pictured above) had one of his best practices of the fall on Friday.

Norman, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team went through practice No. 10 on Friday morning, and according to OU head coach Bob Stoops it wasn't the Sooners' best day.

"Pretty sloppy," said Stoops when asked about Friday's workout. "Guys feeling sorry for themselves. The usual stuff after about a week of two-a-days, but it's not even two-a-days anymore. I don't know why they're feeling sorry for themesleves, they just didn't do too well today."

Did anyone stand out?

"No, it was pretty sloppy," Stoops said. "Everybody had their turn at being sloppy. In general, it's the way they approached the line of scrimmage, alignment and laziness in their assignments. We see it mentally mabye more than anybody else. They're not as sharp as pushing themselves as much as they should. The coaches are having to tell them too many times to compete."

On a more positive note, several of the Sooners walking wounded returned to practice this morning, including running back RB Donta Hickson and OL Ben Baressi. However, DE Larry Birdine, WR Fred Strong, RB Kejuan Jones, LB Demarrio Pleasant, LB Clint Ingram, LB Rufus Alexander and WR Malcolm Kelly were either limited or did not practice.

One player who was not sloppy on Friday morning was redshirt freshman Rhett Bomar.

Bomar was clearly the better quarterback today and possibly had his best practice as a Sooner. At one point in the skelly drills, the redshirt freshman from Grand Prairie, Texas hit nine of his first 10 passes.

In fact, Bomar was so good one defensive coach had this quote when asked how his unit faired today, "Pretty good, but that damn Bomar threw some balls now didn't he?"

And Bomar wasn't just throwing short, he was hitting receivers 20 and 40 yards down the field.

"I felt pretty good today," said Bomar. "My coaches told me not to slack off because this is our third practice in 24 horus. I wanted to come out here and have a strong showing. I hit most of my passes and it felt really good."

Bomar also talked about his relationship with the receivers.

"My relationship with them is really good. I worked with them this summer really hard. We went three days a week of seven-on-seven working on timing and routes to get everything down. Travis (Wilson) is our deep ball guy. He's big, he's srong, he's fast. We need to get him deep as much as possible."

Bomar also talked about the leadership role of the quarterbacks.

"The QBs are the leaders of the offense. It's our responsibility to get the team going, get guys up if they make a mistake and don't let them feel down or drag their head. We have to keep everybody up and get everybody going troward the next next practice."

"I thought he was good," said Stoops on Bomar. "I thought he threw the ball well. They are throwing nice deep balls. I think in the end, that's going to be a strong position for us.

"I think back to two years ago and nobody knew who Jason White was, other than he had two rebuilt knees. You guys were wondering if he could even stay on the field for more than two games. I don't think anybody had him on any All-Big 12 teams in the preseason. Hopefully, these guys can come on and have that kind of career."

As for Paul Thompson, he excelled in the run game today, executing a perfect option pitch to Donta Hickson for a touchdown and keeping an option on another play for a score. However, Thompson struggled through the air with two interceptions and several other bad passes.

By our count, that's two straight practice in favor of Bomar. But for those who think Bomar may be distancing himself from Thompson, think again. The race has been incredibly tight thus far through the first week and the next two scrimmages will go a long way in dertermining who gets the nod.

Running Backs
Once again, it was the Adrian Peterson show Friday morning. I can't stress it enough, but Peterson may just be the most gifted physical specimen I've ever seen.

Peterson went through most of the workout, but missed some of the team drills with his thigh wrapped. However, after practice Peterson was running sprints on his own, and he wasn't just going through the motions.

I don't know what kind of vocal leader Peterson is in the locker room or in the huddle, but just by watching his actions and work ethic, especially today after practice, you begin to see why he's such a special football player.

Peterson is also a perfectionist. After one play where he had the ball stripped from behind, no one was harder on himslef than Peterson, who was furious after losing the football.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
All in all, it was a good day for the receivers. Quentin Chaney had another great practice hooking up with Rhett Bomar for several nice gains.

Travis Wilson, Juaquin Iglesias, Manuel Johnson, Jermaine Hardison and Willie Roberts also stood out with several nice catches.

Offensive Linemen
The first unit on the offensive line was essentially the same today with Chris Bush at center, Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Chester at guard and Davin Joseph and Akim Millington at tackle.

One encouraging note today on the line was the return of freshman Ben Baressi, who had been sidelined the last five days with a knee injury.

Defensive Linemen
Starting on the defensive line today was C.J. Ah You and Calvin Thibodeaux on the ends and Steven Coleman and Carl Pendleton inside.

Remi Ayodele, who was replaced by Coleman on the first team, had a great practice Friday getting good pressure. Cory Bennett and Coleman also continued to play well.

True freshman DeMarcus Granger had one of his better practices so far this fall, stuffing the run and getting pressure.

Talk about a banged up group, Brent Venables depth at linebacker got a major test on Friday.

With Clint Ingram, Rufus Alexander, Demarrio Pleasant all limited with minor injuries, Venables' first team at one point on Friday consisted of Zach Latimer, Ryan Reynolds and walk-on Jake Smith, who isn't even listed on the roster.

But don't fret, Venables expects his group to be back at full steam soon, and that goes for Demmario Pleasant who suffered a compound fracture in his middle finger yesterday. Venables expects to have him back 'in a day or two'.

Marcus Walker suited up, but was limited in the team drills on Friday. Taking his place was D.J. Wolfe, and Bobby Jack Wright said after practice that you could definitely say Wolfe is officially in a battle with Walker for the starting spot at the wide-side corner spot.

One player who appears to be locking up the other corner spot is Chijioke Onyenegecha. And Darien Williams, who has worked with the first unit the last six practices, appears to have a stronghold on one of the safety positions.

Freshman corner Brian Jackson made perhaps the play of the day out-jumping Quentin Chaney for a sideline route and picking off the pass.

Bobby Jack Wright talked about the state of his secondary after practice.

"We for sure have a three-deep in our estimation at this time that we really want to work with. Naturally, you can't get thre-deep ready for a ball game, but some of those guys in that third group (Nic Harris and Reggie Smith) for the rest of two-a-day camp and going into that first ball game, they have a legit chance to move up the ladder. So, we will give three-deep a good look tomorrow."

Special Teams
Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins continued to work as the first team kick returners on Friday. We feel pretty confident that Wilson will be one of the guys come kick-off against TCU, but Lendy Holmes and Reggie Smith are still in the hunt with Rankins for the other spot.


The Sooners will scrimmage Saturday morning inside the stadium at 11 a.m.

"We're going to be on the field a little earlier than that," said Stoops. "We'll stretch and get some work in before 11 o'clock.

"We will get into our situations starting around 11. We always start with some kicking stuff."

Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables talked about the many things he'll be watching for during tomorrow's scrimmage after practice on Friday.

"There are different guys at different positions that you want to try to back off and see what they do, what their reactions are, what their instincts are. Obviously, making and preventing big plays and playing consistently is important for us grading the film. How they handle those things, how they lead, how they don't make adjustments, is going to be real critical for us. It's going to be important to earn trust from us with them on the field.

"Tomorrow is three weeks out of the opener and it's beginning to become crunch time. As a coaching staff, we want to try and take a back seat approach, even though that probalby won't happen. After the second or third play, we'll be right back in it (on the field coaching). But we want to see how much they can do on their own."

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories