Tuesday's Practice Report

Bob Stoops, Kevin Sumlin and Brian Simmons talk about Tuesday's workout.

The Oklahoma football team returned to the practice field Tuesday in full pads for the first of three practices following Saturday's Red/White game.

And it seemed that the Sooners lacked a lot of fire knowing that the big day of the spring was behind them. One coach even commented that they had to 'kick them around' to get them to do anything.

"It was OK," said OU head coach Bob Stoops when asked about Tuesday's workout. "Some guys were better than others, and it needs to be better overall. Some parts of what we are doing looked awfully good, other parts didn't.

"That is what is tough for me as the head coach. I am in both huddles. And in some I like what I see, then in others I don't. So you have to ask those guys (assistants) who's pleased and who isn't."

Below are some of the prominent news and notes to come out of Tuesday's practice.

Offensive Notes

Rhett Bomar threw one interception, but also hit a couple of big plays. He hit walk-on Carter Whitson for a 60-yard touchdown on a post pattern, and he also connected with Juaquin Iglesias for an 80-yard strike on a fly pattern.

Backup Joey Halzle also threw one interception. Adrian Peterson missed practice to get dental work done. Freshman center Chad Roark also missed practice while tending to a class.

Defensive Notes

C.J. Ah You and Larry Birdine looked good getting pressure off the edge. Ah You also knocked down two passes.

Lendy Holmes picked off a Joey Halzle pass that went through Paul Thompson's hands, and Lewis Baker picked off Rhett Bomar.

The Sooners worked on some six defensive back packages on Tuesday. Keenan Clayton was the extra DB along with Lendy Holmes, Reggie Smith, D.J. Wolfe, Jason Carter and Darien Williams on the first unit.

After further review
The Sooners took Monday to examine the film from the Red/White game. Here is what Stoops said after Tuesday after Monday's film sessions.

"The scrimmage was about what I thought," Stoops said. "It's hard for a lot of reasons because you keep the gameplan simple. There are people (other schools on TV) watching and defensively we probably don't do a quarter of what we normally do, so you just want to see guys play. I thought overall it was pretty clean. It was good that there was nobody hurt as well."

So what part of the team has Stoops been the most excited about this spring?

"I'm excited a lot about us defensively," Stoops said. "We are playing in such a clean way. There are very few busted assignments and our technique is very good. Guys are really playing explosively and they look good. It's just impressive to see how physical and fast we are there.

Stoops also mentioned the defenses ability to create turnovers this spring.

"We just look explosive and fast. Guys are really playing aggressively. I think it's just that they are so confident in what they know now and where they need to be, and in their recognition in what they are seeing.

"Some of that to is that they are seeing our offense every single snap every single day. So as you get into the season, that is not always the case. You'll see a new offense and things will be different and you'll have to train those reactions through the week."

What about the offense?

"Offensively, I see the line improving. We still have a ways to go. They have gotten a lot of snaps and they have become better because of it. I think our running backs look really good. Our receivers have made progress and the quarterbacks continue to make improvement the more snaps they get.

"It is like anything, we are a work in progress. We have progressed well here through the spring."

Catching on

If you talk to Kevin Wilson and Kelvin Sumlin, both have made the statements before spring started and during the scrimmages that the receivers needed to step up. And after practice, Sumlin talked about the development of his group so far this spring.

"We talk every day about maturity and what that means," said Sumlin. "More than anything, what we are looking for is consistency. We have some guys with a lot of talent, but what we don't want to see is flashes of great play one day and then dropping off the next day.

"Maturity is about being consistent and giving us something we can count on. That is what we are wanting out of the whole group."

So who has impressed so far?

"The two guys that have come to play just about every day are Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias.

"He (Kelly) has done some positive things. He is trying to adapt to a new system, some more routes, route adjustments, and Juaquin Iglesias is the other who has really made plays for us all spring. Those two guys have shown that they can make plays for us in big games and they have continued to show that in every practice."

And what about Paul's development after his impressive Red/White game?

"Paul has come on here recently. Paul has improved. And it's going to be his challenge to keep improving through the summer and in the fall.

What about the other receivers?

"We have seen flashes and when you talk about maturity we are talking about the other guys. Fred Strong has had some standout scrimmages, but it has not become an every day thing for him. Those guys — (Eric) Huggins, 'Q' (Quentin Chaney) and Fred, they really need to adapt to what we're trying to do.

"When we are talking about maturity we are talking about what we can count on from you every time instead of just flashes from this or that. They are working at it and I think they understand what we are trying to do as coaches."

And Manuel Johnson?

"Manuel has been pretty good," Sumlin said. "Manuel's been a guy that's been more consistent than maybe a few of the others, but he can improve in that area as well. For the most part, I've been pleased with him."

Special Teams

Sumlin is also in charge of the special teams, and after practice he talked about Garrett Hartley and Mike Knall.

"Our place kicker, Garrett Hartley, is a pretty good kicker," said Sumlin. "He's been pretty good this spring, but he knows he can be better. Garrett has to become more consistent. That's something we preach to him all the time. But he's a mature kid and he understands that. He has a good work ethic. It's not like we have to get on him to get in the weight room. He beats us to it.

"Then in our punting game, we're working with Mike Knall," Sumlin continued. "He's getting better everyday, but he needs to continue to get better. We just have to get better there. Mike needs to get bigger and stronger, and he's another kicker that needs to become consistent. Both Mike and Garrett need to have great summers.

"For a kicker, the summer is just as important as it is for a quarterback or a receiver. It's really when they fine-tune their abilities. They get with kicking coaches, go to camps, get a lot of instruction. And we need both of those guys to have great summers."

Rising star?

The OU coaches continue to be impressed with the play of converted defensive tackle Brian Simmons to offensive guard.

Simmons, who started in the Red/White game and was running with the first unit again Tuesday, says he's getting more comfortable with the position.

"For the most part, I'm pretty happy with it. There are so many things I still have to learn. But to be honest, I think I have some natural ability to do it and I'm enjoying myself.

"The biggest challenge still for me is when I walk up from the huddle knowing exactly what I'm doing. It's just the challenge of learning assignments, and as the defense makes adjustments that I know how to counter those adjustments."

Simmons has been so impressive this early in his stint at guard that the OU coaches are considering moving Duke Robinson back to tackle in the fall when juco transfer Brandon Walker gets on campus and J.D. Quinn returns from his injury.

Both Walker and Quinn are guards, and with the emergence of Simmons and the addition of juco transfer Sherrone Moore this spring, the Sooners may take a look at moving Robinson outside, where they have only two tackles they have confidence in at this point in Branndon Braxton and Chris Messner.

Moving Robinson to tackle open would up more space inside for the other guards and give OU a solid three-man rotation at tackle. Robinson has been playing both guard and tackle this spring. Truth be told, Robinson has looked better at guard, but with his weight loss the coaches think he could make the move to the outside.

Stay tuned.

The Sooners will practice again Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.

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