Wilson says Thompson's confidence growing

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson talked about the progress of Paul Thompson and many other subjects after Wednesday's practice. (Photo/Lisa Hall)

Today was the first day that the offense tested some of the new wrinkles against the OU defense in a scrimmage at the end of practice. OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson met with the media following practice and gave an update on how the offense was coming along.

JH: What did you think of the play of the offense today?

KW: "We got a couple of things close and sputtered on a couple of good drives. However, we were moving with some stuff and I think we are kind of moving in the right way. We are not there yet, but I think things went pretty good. We had a couple of glitches that got us behind the chains. It was a penalty here or a negative play, and we had a big play called back. It was not bad. We are getting pretty close and are getting better."

MEDIA: Have you put in some new things yet or is that still to come?

KW: "Yeah, the only thing that we have done as much as anything as far as anything that we have normally done is slowed down things that we are putting in so that Paul got a lot of reps. Not that he is not a smart guy, but he hadn't done it in a while and if we went to the fourth, fifth or sixth play he only got that one play five or six times and that is getting him 15 or 20 throws.

"On certain throws he does like it, is he getting good and is he getting a lot of reads? The only thing that we have done significantly is slow down getting him a chance to get multiple reps of the same concepts. Getting a feel on what he does like it or doesn't like it. What does he feel good about and what are we good at? That has been kind of the deal."

JH: The offense is such a work in progress, but you are always indicating that you are getting closer to being where you want to be. So, at this point, just how far along are you offensively? Are you as far along as you hoped at this point?

KW: "I think so. We are a little youthful and we are a little thin with depth along the line, and I think we fatigue like we did today. We got out on the field at 4:45 and we started to scrimmage at 6:40, so we were out here for one hour and 55 minutes just going through walk-through, stretching, or kick game etc. I just think we fatigue more than I would like in a long practice.

"When we scrimmaged today we got a little sloppy, but I like our mindset and attitude. We are trying real hard. We had a young tailback today that fumbled the ball once in the scrimmage and we have had very few turnovers in scrimmage situations thus far. We have taken care of the ball through team this week pretty good. If we can take the negative out we are getting closer.

"I really like Paul's demeanor, his command of the huddle. The way he is talking to our offense is by far the best that he has ever done. I think he feels comfortable that now he is the guy, that this is his team and he just says let's go guys and here is what we are doing. Like I said earlier, we wanted him to manage us and I think he is getting comfortable at being our mouthpiece out there. He says, 'Here we go. Let's get it going.' And if you take Adrian out when he is not live, then Paul is playing as sharp as anybody on offense.

"That is why I think we are heading in the right way and I think we are getting mentally tougher. I like the way he is coming along and I feel pretty good. We have a little depth concern and we had a little fatigue concern with that second group of young offensive linemen."

MEDIA: I noticed that Brian Simmons was dressed out today. Is he back practicing at this time?

KW: "He is still a couple of weeks out getting cleared to go. He is just going to be there and see things, getting coached up mentally. He is just trying to be a part of it. However, he is not cleared to practice and won't be for two to four weeks. They don't say it's is day-to-day, they just say it is a few weeks before they can give us a clear. Is that going to be three, four or five weeks? We really don't know. It looks like it is going to be three, four or five weeks."

MEDIA: Are you trying to put Paul in situations during camp where he is driving the team 70 to 80 yards downfield. Is that where Paul is going to gain his most growth?

KW: "Hopefully the defense plays well enough that it is going to be 70-yards, 60-yards, 50-yards or 40-yards. I think we are going to try every way that we can to be a big-play explosive team. We go out there in 7-on-7 drills the other day and we throw a go-ball and our receiver gets tired and doesn't get there. Then if he overthrows it, our receiver has got to be a DB. It is our ball or not! We had three picks the last scrimmage and we just thought that one was on the quarterback. We had none today. We had one fumble and we threw the ball a lot.

"To me, it is hard to run on our defense because of the way they play. It is hard because we don't cut them, so we are actually working our pass game as much as any in these scrimmages. What can we protect, what can we get open, what does he (Thompson) like? Again, the ball was in the air a whole lot today with zero picks. That was with 7-on-7 skelly included.

"I think his confidence is growing and he feels very comfortable. He is playing right now really good and I think is getting set on the things that he likes. We are a long way away from having a gameplan, but I like the way he is playing a ton. I am not trying to make him feel good, but he is doing well."

JH: How is Joey Halzle doing?

KW: "Joey is doing OK. He still tries to force it too much. Joey is still a young quarterback who thinks if he doesn't complete every play it is a bad play. Sometimes he is thinking a little too much or he is a little late or he is getting bluffed by coverage where he is forcing some balls. That concerns me more with his play, because mentally I think he still wants to complete every pass, and sometimes he got bluffed and he needs to throw it away. He needs to manage the game better. I think Paul is getting comfortable with managing the game and how we want him to play."

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