Sooners scrimmage, captains named

Senior QB Paul Thompson was impressive during Thursday night's scrimmage leading three scoring drives and throwing two touchdown passes. The Leander, Texas native was also announced as one of OU's four team captains. See inside for notes from Thursday's scrimmage. (Photo/Lisa Hall)

Oklahoma fans got their last public look at the 2006 Oklahoma Football team Thursday night in Norman, as the Sooners went through an hour and 15 minute non-tackling scrimmage in full pads before prior to the Big Red Rally.

Below are some news and notes from the scrimmage. Please note that quotes will not be included because the media was not allowed access to the players following the workout.

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Now don't read this and rush to Las Vegas this weekend and drop some cash on the Sooners to win the national title, but senior quarterback Paul Thompson was impressive.

Thompson was going against the the second-team defense, but he led the offense on scoring drives in three of his six possessions. In all, he threw two touchdown passes, picked up first downs on third and long on twice with nice passes and also looked good running the ball.

The Leander, Texas native would've picked up big gains (8-10 yards) on a nicely called quarterback draw on one play. On another play, he rolled out on a play-action call from the 10-yard line and scrambled the the 2-yard line after seeing his receivers were covered. The Sooners also showed several two tight end set formations, as well as several option plays out of the shotguns.

Thompson threw a beautiful 2-yard fade pass for a touchdown to Malcolm Kelly, who went up and over the defender to pull down the catch. He also connected on a hail mary pass of about 40-yards to freshman Brandon Caleb at the end of a two-minute drill drive. He also hooked up with tight end Joe John Finley on a nice 20-yard gain on a play-action play, in which Thompson threw a perfect pass just over the jumping linebacker.

Back-up quarterback Joey Halzle made a few nice completions, but struggled for the most part as the first-team defensive line pretty much had their way with the second-team offensive line.

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The top three receivers working with the first unit were Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias and Fred Strong. However, Strong looked to have injured an ankle and sat out the final two drives. He then limped off the field after the workout while the rest of the team watched the Big Red Rally.

The other two receivers getting first-team reps were freshmen Brandon Caleb and Adron Tennell. Each had a drop on perfectly thrown passes from Thompson, but they also made some nice plays. Caleb caught Thompson's hail mary pass in the end zone, made another big gain over the middle on a play-action catch, a couple of quick screens and a few more nice catches over the middle.

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The Sooners' first team offensive line consisted of Branndon Braxton and Chris Messner at tackle, Brandon Walker and Duke Robinson at guard and Jon Cooper at center. True freshman Chase Beeler also saw time at center with the first group replacing Cooper every other series.

The first unit didn't give up a sack and they opened up a nice hole off tackle on one play for Mossis Madu to score on a 2-yard run. And on another play, they opened up a gaping hole in the middle on a shotgun draw running play to Allen Patrick.

One other interesting note on the line, life is tough if you're Duke Robinson. Nearly 20 days since the start of practice, The Duke is still having to go through post-practice conditioning. On Thursday, Robinson was seen doing sit-ups after practice with strength coach Jerry Schmidt.

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Adrian Peterson did not participate in the scrimmage, which left the first-team reps to Allen Patrick and freshman Mossis Madu. Chris Brown took the majority of his reps with the second team offense.

DeMarco Murray and Jacob Gutierrez did not play running back tonight.

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There isn't much to say about the first-team defense other than they dominated the second team offense. I can only remember two first downs picked up on the first team defense in the five drives I saw.

D.J. Wolfe had the only interception of the scrimmage on an out-route pass from Joey Halzle.

And at least for this practice, Curtis Lofton worked with the first-team linebacker group of Zach Latimer and Rufus Alexander over Demarrio Pleasant. Pleasant, who had been slowed by an injury the last week, did practice, but most of his work came with the second team tonight.

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On the injury front, sophomore receiver Manuel Johnson and kicker Garrett Hartley were the main notables to not participate in the scrimmage. However, both were at the practice dressed in shorts and their jersey.

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After the scrimmage, head coach Bob Stoops announced seniors Paul Thompson, Chris Messner, Rufus Alexander and C.J. Ah You as the 2006 captains.

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As for the punters, both Michael Cohen and Mike Knall looked serviceable. Knall has certainly improved since his struggles last spring. It will be interesting to see who wins this job.


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