Monday Evening (8/15) Practice Report

Chuck Long talks about the status of quarterback Tommy Grady (pictured above), plus quotes from Bob Stoops, Cale Gundy and Darrell Wyatt on Monday's practice. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Norman, Okla. — For the second straight practice, weather forced the Oklahoma football team indoors to the Everest Training Center for the final workout of their third set of two-a-days.

Did anyone stand out?

"No, it was a normal practice," said OU head coach Bob Stoops, who is probably beginning to wonder when the media will realize that he hardly ever answers that question the way they want him to. "When you go through as many as I have, you get fairly used to it. It was good. Guys continue to make good progress."

Players who missed tonight's workout were: RB Kejuan Jones, WR Fred Strong, LB Demarrio Pleasant and DT Steven Coleman and DL Cordero Moore. Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly returned to practice, but only went through the individual drills.

* The big news surrounding Monday night's practice wasn't so much as what happened on the field, but news on the team off the field.

For the first time, the Oklahoma coaching staff acknowledged the fact that quarterback Tommy Grady may not be on the team this fall.

"Tommy is not here and he has a class to finish, which he finishes on Friday," said OU quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Chuck Long. "And then it's decision time for him, really, whether he wants to stay or he wants to transfer.

"The reason why he has to do it before he steps foot out here is our classes start on Monday, and he can't step foot in class if he wants to transfer or he'll lose next year as well. I think by the weekend we will find out more about him."

So is there a good chance he might transfer?

"Definitely," Long said. "He hasn't been here. It's certainly a possibility, yes."

* As for the quarterback battle on Monday night, we're going to give the edge to Paul Thompson.

Thompson was sharp for most of the workout and only threw one interception, while Rhett Bomar threw one interception and was inconsistent for most of the practice throwing several incompletions.

One of the major things to watch on gameday will be the positioning of Long, who normally watches the games from the press box. Long watched Saturday's scrimmage from the press box, but there's a chance he could be on the field this season.

"They need to get used to that," said Long, on him not being on the field during the scrimmages. "Rhett, being a young quarterback, he needs to get used to that. So, we will do it again Wednesday night (scrimmage)."

Long was also asked if he was considering staying on the field because of the absence of Josh Heupel, who helped tutor the quarterbacks on the sidelines during a game.

"That's a good question. That's why we are doing these scrimmages with me in the press box. With me being up there and Josh no longer here, obviously Coach Gundy has played quarterback here and he knows the game. We've always said Josh is good and has been good, but Coach Gundy, being an ex-quarterback, has helped. All of our coaches have helped.

"But I would say right off the top of my head that it would be Coach Gundy on offense, because he's played the position and is right here when the quarterback comes off the field. If it gets to the point I feel I need to be down there, I will. If it helps them, I will go to the field."

So would he prefer to be in the booth?

"Not necessarily, but it's not like it's out of the ordinary and cant' be done. I would prefer to be upstairs, but I have to look at putting those quarterbacks in a good position and giving them a good feel. If I have to come down, I will."

* When Bob Stoops said that Adrian Peterson was bigger, stronger and faster before the season started, there were probably a lot of you who thought, 'Yeah, right.'

Well, after watching Peterson look better than ever for about the fourth straight practice, it might just be about time to 'Believe the Stoops Hype'.

"He's bigger, stronger and faster," Stoops said again after practice Monday night. "Why would that be unexpected? It's the maturity of an older guy."

OK, Bob. We believe you now.

After practice, OU running back Coach Cale Gundy talked about the fact that Peterson's work ethic is what makes him such a great player.

"He's an excellent worker," Gundy said. "Coach Schmitty just raved about him all summer. He likes to play football. He likes to compete and he likes to work out. That's more important to him than anything. It's something that he wants."

"He was mad Saturday that he was held out of the scrimmage. That's the type of kid he is. I was looking at him over here on during special teams (drills) and he was talking to two of our newest walk-ons and they're over there laughing, cutting up and joking. That's the kind of person AD is. He loves his teammates and this university."

* On the offensive line, it was the same starting group as normal: Davin Joseph and Akim Millington at tackle, Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Chester at guard and Chris Bush at center.

Millington was having a great practice, especially picking up blitzes, but got nicked up with a minor injury and was replaced by Chris Messner.

Running with the second team line today was Duke Robinson and Brandonn Braxton at tackle, J.D. Quinn and Jon Cooper at guard and Jesse White at center. Brett Rayl also worked in at guard along with Ben Barresi, worked and we also thought we saw the Edmond native work some at tackle.

Speaking of Barresi, despite the fact that he's missed some workouts this fall OU o-line coach Kevin Wilson loves his potential and toughness.

* For the second straight practice, redshirt freshman Lendy Holmes stepped up and had a great workout.

Joining Holmes in Darrell Wyatt's receiver rotation on the first team as usual Monday night was Travis Wilson, Jejuan Rankins and Quentin Chaney.

However, the Sooners like to use five and sometimes six receivers (see last year), and the man who is beginning to step up and be that fifth guy is true freshman Juaquin Iglesias. Iglesias had a great scrimmage on Saturday and followed it up with a great set of Monday workouts.

Two other freshmen that impressed Monday night were Manuel Johnson and Eric Huggins.

"We feel really good about the two veteran guys — Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins," said OU receiver coach Darrell Wyatt. "They have come in and had a great camp. They've been showing leadership. I really like some, or a couple of the redshirt freshmen. Lendy Holmes and Quentin Chaney have been really working hard. They had great days, but they still have a lot of work left."

What about the play of the true freshmen?

"I'm just extremely pleased with the play of the four freshmen. All three can be outstanding players for us. We still have a lot of camp left to see who is going to make the roster, travel and redshirt or play."

Wyatt also said special teams could play a factor in who doesn't redshirt.

"A lot of our guys play special teams. Some of our freshmen receivers have played a bunch on special teams that we will travel. We need our special teams to be as good as our other two units, so that may factor into which receivers travel and not redshirt."

Juaquin Iglesias is currently starting on the punt return team.

* Defensively, the battle continued in the secondary between Marcus Walker and D.J. Wolfe. And once again, Walker got the first reps with the first team and looked great, but this battle is far from over.

Freshman Nic Harris possibly had his best day as a Sooner. Harris, who showed his big-hitting ability on one play during Saturday's scrimmage, picked off a pass this morning and then got another one Monday night.

Harris and fellow true freshmen Reggie Smith also continue to work as the starting nickel and dime backs, so at this point it looks as if they both could play this season.

True freshman Brian Jackson made his second acrobatic interception of the fall, out-jumping a Sooner receiver to pick off a deep sideline route.

And when the Sooners go to the nickel, the two linebackers on the field tonight were Zach Latimer and Rufus Alexander.

* For the first time this fall, the Sooners worked some on onside kicks. D.J. Wolfe came close to recovering the ball on one play, but other than that they were shut out.

The Sooners will return to the practice field again on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. OU will hold their final public scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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