Practice is officially underway in Norman and once again the Sooner coaches counted on strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt to make sure that the players were in the best shape possible throughout the summer.
Each year at the start of training camp, the Sooners hold a testing period to test the progress the players made from all their hard work in the summer. The Sooners don't like to talk in specifics about testing day, but recently we talked with Schmidt about testing day and about the kind of summer the Sooners had.
JH: Coach Stoops has been bragging on all the testing and how the team did. How did you feel it went after a hard summer of work?
JS: "I thought it was really good. I thought it was good how the guys came together and bonded together this summer. I thought they pushed each other and, overall, with Davin (Joseph) leaving I thought the offensive line really came together. Your (Branndon) Braxtons and Chris Messners really tried to lead and they had a great summer.
"As always, AD was impressive. He's one of the very best we have ever had around here. The attitude and approach to things was good, as last summer things did not go very smooth around here. I thought they stepped up and said we are going to come together as a team and they did. I thought the summer went real well."
JH: Who impressed you on testing day?
JS: "Reggie Smith was very impressive on testing day. The DBs, they way they came together as a group. They did an excellent job. Keenan Clayton, Nic Harris and those guys made great gains on both strength and speed. I am just talking about how they improved their overall development. That is what we are looking for. I am kind of talking in general here, because I don't have my charts in front of me or my results.
"It is just the way they come together as a group. That is what I like to see. Many of them worked out early at 5:45 (a.m.) in the morning, and just the way they came together as a group and how they developed overall with their strength and speed, I thought was really good. I thought that the linebackers were really impressive, but I thought that Demarrio Pleasant really stepped up and did a great job."
JH: Nic Harris put on some size (222), so did he still run pretty well?
JS: "He was paranoid that with the weight that he put on that he wouldn't run well, but he is a safety and he has to be big and be able to carry it. When he got into the summer and it got up to 95 and 100 degrees, he really got loose and found out he could run with it. We felt pretty good about that."
JH: Who was your fastest player?
JS: "Our fastest guy would have been AD at 4.41 at 221 pounds. He was just so impressive. His bench also went up 35 pounds this summer to 375, which is excellent."
JH: Who was your strongest guy?
JS: "Jon Cooper and DeMarcus Granger, at 445 pounds (bench), were our strongest guys. They did a great job."
JH: Was Paul Thompson really high on your all-time quarterback charts?
JS: He ran his normal 4.5, and I can't say enough about his work ethic as well. I can't give him enough credit. It was just his attitude and the things and the way he approached this summer was amazing. You ask him anything and he will do it for the team. You ask him to go to any position and he will go with it, because he just wants to help the team. He is just impressive. I give him a lot of credit for the summer we had and what this team is all about."
Schmidt talks about OU's offseason progress
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