Friday's Practice Report (3/31)

Bob Stoops, Kevin Sumlin and Allen Patrick talk about Friday's workout.

On the eve of the second scrimmage of the spring, the Oklahoma football team went through a spirited and physical workout in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets Friday night in Norman.

"Just another hard day working on everything," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "We're getting better, I think. There's a lot of good competition going on. Ususally, when you're going good against good as much as you are you're making each other better. Each sides making ther plays. That's why it's hard for me to realize who I'm rooting for. We weren't in full pads, but we were still pretty physical."

The Sooners are also hosting their annual coaching clinic this weekend, with nearly 550 high school coaches in attendance for Friday's practice and tomorrow's scrimmage.

Below are several notes and quotes from Friday's workout.

Freeby suspended
Stoops announced after practice that punter Cody Freeby has been suspended for academic reasons.

"Cody Freeby has just been suspended because of some academic reasons. And, yes, he does have some medical issues as well."

Stoops did not say when Freeby would return, so that leaves the punting duties up to junior Mike Knall.

"We'd like for him to be a little more consistent, but he's getting his opportunity now and he is getting better."

Special Teams notes
The Sooners worked on their kick-off return and punt units, at least for the first time since the media has been at practice, on Friday.

The kick-off return team consisted of Malcolm Kelly, Nic Harris, Curtis Lofton, Paul Thompson and Rufus Alexander on the front line, Joe Jon Finley and Brody Eldridge on the second line, Matt Clapp and Dane Zaslaw on the third line and Reggie Smith and Allen Patrick as the returners.

The punt team (not including the gunners) consisted of D.J. Wolfe and Rufus Alexander on the wings, (Left to Right) Ryan Reynolds, Brody Eldridge, Clint Gresham, Joe Jon Finley, Demarrio Pleasant and Paul Thompson as the upback.

Offensive Notes
All in all it was a good day for both quarterbacks as they threw for a combined total of three touchdown passes. However, Halzle did threw two interceptions to just one from Bomar.

Bomar hit walk-on Carter Whitson for a 50-yard touchdown. He also found Eric Huggins, who had a great day catching the ball, on a stop and go route during the red zone drill for a touchdown. Bomar also got out of the pocket several times and would've picked up big yardage in a game situation.

Halzle hit Manuel Johnson on a post for a 50-yard touchdown against the backup secondary, and also connected with Brody Eldridge on a about a 30-yard gain down to the 1-yard line on another pass play.

Adrian Peterson and Allen Patrick continue to get the bulk of the work at running back, and both took several good shots today despite not being in full pads.

"Practice has become very physical," Patrick said. "Both of us are running hard and the defense is really good, so that's going to make us work even harder.

"I expect them to hit me hard and they do good job of doing that, but I just go in there and do what I do."

Patrick is also excited about showing his stuff at the scrimmage tomorrow.

"Oh yeah, I love it. Especially running behind AD, who is one of the greatest of all time. I take pride in that.

"There's still some things I need to work on, but other than that I enjoy running and getting better."

Saturday's scrimmage is also a big day for OU's receivers, according to coach Kevin Sumlin. Sumlin says he's looking forward to seeing what backups Quentin Chaney, Fred Strong and Eric Huggins can do.

"You can see them getting better every practice, and that's all we can ask — is are they are working hard and are they are getting better? They are going to get their opportunity to show us what they can do."

Sumlin is particularly interested in seeing what Quentin Chaney can do.

"Quentin came on strong the first week and half, but he's got a little ankle and he's gimping around a little bit. We want to see him get out and perform, play through the injury and make plays in front of people."

He also says he plans to take more of a hands-off approach to coaching his group during tomorrow's scrimmage.

"I'm going to get off the field tomorrow. We have done a bunch of coaching through these first two weeks. We have most of our concepts in except for our special-type things and gameplan stuff. But I would like to get off the field and let those guys play and see how they react," Sumlin said.

"I just told the receivers that our evaluations start tomorrow. As I told the group yesterday, if you want to continue to be a towel waiver, let us know tomorrow. You've got to let us know tomorrow that you really intend on playing."

Sumlin is also looking for added improvement from veterans like Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias, Manuel Johnson and Paul Thompson.

"I think we have some new stuff in for them. There's a change in the system a little bit. We have some new routes and I have been pleased with their progress so far. I think Paul's working hard at it. He's had some drops early, but he's got to get more consistent. He is putting in the extra time and he's working at it.

"I've been pleased with Juaquin and Manuel has missed some practices, but he came back strong today. And what can you say about big No. 4 (Kelly)? He makes a play every day that you go 'wow'."

As for the offensive line, it was the same starting unit as it has been with Chris Messner and Branndon Braxton at tackle, Chad Roark at center and Sherrone Moore and Duke Robinson at guard. Brian Simmons also got a lot of work at guard with the first team unit today.

Defensive notes

It was another great workout for redshirt freshman defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger. In fact, Granger was so good Bob Stoops commented on his play after practice.

"He had a great day today," Stoops said. "He's really impressive. To tell you the truth, he's been impressive every day. He's in great shape and he's fighting hard. He does a lot of good things on the field."

It was also a good day for OU's linebackers. Rufus Alexander picked off one pass and Ryan Reynolds and Curtis Lofton seemed to be popping the running backs with big hits at every opportunity.

Demarrio Pleasant also made a nice play to break up a screen pass to Peterson that would've potentially been set up for a big gain.

Joining Alexander with interceptions was Jason Carter and Lendy Holmes.

Scrimmage Info
Practice is set to begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning with the scrimmage set to move inside the stadium shortly after.

"We will go a little longer," said Stoops on the scrimmage. "We're going to try to get off the field a little bit more. We're just going to try to see how they react on their own. And we're going to work on the kicking game a little bit more."

* Also, junior college offensive line signee Brandon Walker was in town for today's practice and tomorrow's scrimmage to observe the offensive line.

Printable roster for scrimmage...

Printable Roster for Scrimmage (PDF)

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories