Norman, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team tuned up for the final major scrimmage of the fall Tuesday night in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads inside the Everest Training Center.
Overall, it was a great day for the defense, which picked off four passes and kept the offense in check for most of the afternoon.
"They are making a lot of good improvement," said OU head coach Bob Stoops after practice. "We have put a lot in and they have grasped it really well. They continue to make plays and get better. I'm excited about them. I think, in the end, it's going to be a really solid group."
Stoops also announced after practice that Wednesday's scrimmage would be the last open practice to the fans this fall. Practices were originally scheduled to be open until August 20.
However, Stoops said it's time for his team to get down to business.
"There's just some things, some trick plays and what not, that we want to start working on," Stoops said. "There's no need for everybody to see those. I think everybody has seen enough. Plus, I figure you guys (media) need to stay home for a change and get here later.
"There's no specific reason," said Stoops when asked why he's closing practices two days early. "I just think that's enough. I think we can just start doing some different wrinkles, things that we are not looking for everyone to see."
Below is a position-by-position look at the highlights from Tuesday's workout.
Score today's workout in the win column for Rhett Bomar.
All in all, it wasn't a stellar day for the quarterbacks, thanks to a strong showing by the secondary, but the redshirt freshman from Grand Prairie, Texas was still clearly better than Paul Thompson.
Bomar did throw one interception, but Thompson threw three. In fact, Thompson was even picked off by defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Brent Venables, who found himself caught in the middle of a play and forced to catch the ball or get hit in the head by a rocket pass by Thompson.
On the plus side, Bomar had a nice day hitting the backs out of the backfield and hooking up with Eric Huggins, Quentin Chaney, Travis Wilson and Joe Jon Finley.
Bomar did throw one touchdown pass to Wilson in the in the seven-on-seven, while Thompson did bounce back with a perfectly placed touchdown pass to walk-on Russell English over the linebackers.
The Sooner quarterbacks threw the ball a bunch during Saturday's scrimmage and the early word is you might see the same tomorrow night. However, don't expect this team to get away from their roots — Adrian Peterson.
"We're not going to be a team that's throwing 40 times a game, but we will throw it about 30," said Rhett Bomar. "We'll run a lot of play-action and set up pass plays to Adrian and Kejuan. The pass will be a major part of our offense, it's just not going to be an overwhelming part of our offense."
Could the Sooners throw it 40-45 times in a game if they had to?
"Oh yeah, we're set up to do that," Bomar said. "If we have to throw that much in a game, we can. To be honest, let's hope we don't have to because that would mean, at least I think it would mean, our offense isn't clicking on all cylinders or we're behind in a game. But if the D is doing every thing they can to shut down the run and give us the pass I can see our coaching saying, 'Yeah, lets throw it.'
Not much to report here other than what you already know — Adrian Peterson is still a stud.
Kejuan Jones missed practice once again, but told us tonight he thinks he'll be back in the next couple of days.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
True freshman Juaquin Iglesias continued his great fall camp with another solid practice Tuesday night.
Iglesias, who is making a major push to become the fifth receiver after Travis Wilson, Jejuan Rankins, Lendy Holmes and Quentin Chaney, looked great in the one-on-one drills catching two touchdown passes.
Another true freshman, Eric Huggins, is also another freshmen that has stepped up his game in the last three to four practices. Huggins had another good practice tonight standing out and catching several passes.
True freshman Malcolm Kelly suited up but only went through individual drills.
Oklahoma's first line appears to be set with a unit of Davin Joseph T, Akim Millington T, Chris Bush C, Kelvin Chaisson G and Chris Chester G.
However, it's apparent that OU line coach Kevin Wilson is searching hard for his back-ups this past week and giving more guys reps with the first unit.
Getting reps with the first unit at times tonight were Brett Rayl at left guard, Chris Chester at center, J.D. Quinn at right guard and Chris Messner at right tackle. At this point, it appears that Messner is the leading candidate to be the third tackle.
Getting second team reps today were Duke Robinson at LT, Jon Cooper at LG, Jesse White at C, Ben Barresi at RG and Branndon Braxton at RT.
One player who has stepped up and fought held his starting position is sophomore Akim Millington.
"I'm going on my third year here and there's been a lot of hard progress, time in the film room, working with the strength coaches and just getting the system and plays down," Millington said. "I'm going in my third year and it's expected of me to get in here and give it my best."
Millington also said he's excited about Wednesday's scrimmage.
"You better believe it," Millington said. "I'm ready to ball. I'm ready to play some football. It's always fun to scrimmage against our D because they're so good. I think we'll give a good account of ourselves."
In other news, junior college offensive linemen Brandon Keith was in Norman today to talk to the coaches. Look for news to break in the next day or two one way or the other. Keith was not at practice today, but we've learned that the door is still open for his return.
Starting on the defensive line today was John Williams and C.J. Ah You at defensive end and Carl Pendleton and Remi Ayodele at defensive tackle.
Working with the second group at defensive end was Calvin Thibodeaux and Larry Birdine. Laenar Nixon and Alonzo Dotson were the third set of DE's.
True freshman Cordero Moore did not practice for the second straight day.
True freshman Curtis Lofton worked with the first team at middle linebacker in place of Zach Latimer, who was limited during the workout with sore shoulders.
Nevertheless, Lofton has looked great over the last several practices, and getting reps with the first team never hurts one's chances to make a move.
"He looked really good," said Stoops on Lofton's work with the first team. "He is a guy that has a natural feel in there. You always say that if you have to tell linebackers too much what to do, they're going to struggle. He's one of those that you just have to get lined up, but after that you don't have to tell him a whole lot. He feels things and he executes. He has a chance to be a good player."
Clint Ingram had another great practice in pass coverage, but when the Sooners went to the nickel package it was Ingram who came out of the lineup in favor of Reggie Smith, with Lofton and Rufus Alexander playing linebacker.
True freshmen Ryan Reynolds also got some first team reps at one point during practice.
Oklahoma's secondary has looked great thus far this fall, and Tuesday's practice was no exception as they picked off four passes.
Sophomore cornerback Marcus Walker was limited to after tweaking his shoulder again on Monday, and that left the door open again for D.J. Wolfe to start at corner, and he didn't disappoint.
In all, Wolfe picked off two passes and provided great coverage starting at corner along with Chijioke Onyenegecha. On one play, Wolfe jumped an out route, tipped the pass in the air and then caught it for a interception.
Speaking of Onyenegecha, it was another great day in coverage for the senior. He broke up several passes and even picked up one sack on a cornerback blitz.
Eric Bassey and Reggie Smith also had good days in coverage. Tony Cade picked off one pass, while Smith looked good working with the first team defense as the starting nickel back. Lewis Baker also broke up one 'alley-oop' pass attempt to 6-foot-6 Quentin Chaney in the end zone during red zone drills.
In the two minute drill, it was a good day for safety Darien Williams, who made a great play to break up post pass in the end zone to Bubba Moses.
After practice, Williams talked about the secondary's improved play this fall and the style of new DB coach Bobby Jack Wright.
"There's a lot more discipline," Williams said on Wright's style. "That's what he (Wright) goes off of. When you are taught to do something, his discipline means you do exactly what you're taught to do and worry about your job."
It was another good day for Cody Freeby punting the ball. Freeby boomed several kicks and shanked just one, which ended up being a 40-yarder.
Working on the kick-off team today was Jason Carter, Eric Bassey, Allen Patrick, Ryan Reynolds, Russell Dennison, D.J. Wolfe, Clint Ingram, Lewis Baker, Marcus Walker and Tony Cade.
Tomorrow's scrimmage will begin at 5:30 p.m.
"I just want to see us continue to make strides," said Stoops on his expectations for the scrimmage. "Hopefully, we will eliminate some penalties. I want to see who's going to make plays."
Stoops said he expects the scrimmage to last for about 100 plays.
Tuesday Practice Report (8/16)
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
OU recruiting report: DefenseEvaluating some of the top performances from OU's commits on defense.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 11:41 AM
OU unfiltered: Joe MixonIn his first interview of the season, it's OU running back Joe Mixon.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 8:50 AM
OU recruiting report: OffenseA review of the offensive performances of OU's commits so far this season.
Sooners IllustratedWednesday at 11:24 AM
Thomas, Walker making big impressionsPart II as reflect back on the best performances seen LIVE so far this season on recruiting trail.
Sooners IllustratedWednesday at 10:01 AM