Tuesday Evening Practice Report

Sooners add another kicker; Quarterback talk with Chuck Long; Stoops believe in the SI cover jinx and much, much more...(Photo provided by OU Sports Information)

Another practice, another new kicker.

For the second straight afternoon session, the Sooners have added another walk-on kicker to compete for the starting job departed by Tim Duncan.

Yesterday, Carrollton, Texas prospect Trey DiCarlo joined the Sooners' kicking derby and today it was San Antonio product Mike Fanuzzi.

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops told everyone who would listen at the morning practice that the Sooners would be fine kicking field goals this year, yet when the OU kickers wrapped up their participation in the team field goal drills, the Sooner head coach followed the kickers over to Memorial Stadium to watch them kick some more.

Stoops returned in good spirits.

"Hey boys," Stoops quipped to the members standing near the sidelines after watching the kickers kick on Owen Field. "We just made 90 percent of them over there in tall grass. We're going to be okay."

OU worked on kick-offs for the first time today and DiCarlo was by far the most successful kicker getting the ball into the end zone. Steve Sarubbi knocked a couple to the three-yard but for the most part was around the 10-yard line with his kicks along with Fanuzzi.

Enough kicker talk for now. All eyes are usually on the quarterbacks, rather then the kickers, and there is doubt that one of the most impressive groups of freshmen are the OU QB's. Both Noah Allen and Paul Thompson came to Norman with impressive credentials and Quarterback Coach/Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long has been impressed with what he has seen in practice the first two days.

"Both quarterbacks, thus far, have hadled everything beautifully," said Long after Tuesday's practice.

"Obviously, when the varsity arrives they have the biggest adjustment to make in my opinion over any other position. They are used to being the man and getting all the reps. They've probably been getting that attention over the last three years, but starting on Friday they'll be getting the least reps. That is a tremendous ego check. I think they'll handle it, but how they handle it will be a big key, because when they get their opportunity they need to perform."

"These two both have outstanding releases," continued Long. "I knew that when we recruited them. They both get the ball away quickly and accurately."

"The main key is that they get rid of the ball quickly. That's really the key for quarterbacks. They have to be able to get rid of the ball quickly with something on it."

Offensive lineman Jeff Lebby and tight end Leanar Nixon were held out of the afternoon workout because of heat related issues. Purcell OL Steve Taylor continues to impress on the offensive line and the OU coaches secretly love the potential of quarterback Paul Thompson. The OU coaches love his upside.

Wide receiver JeJuan Rankins continues to impress catching the ball as a punt returner. DaBryan Blanton may also get a chance to return punts, but receivers coach Darrell Wyatt is still working with Blanton on a few fundamental issues catching the football.

The other buzz around practice this afternoon's was the word that Sports Illustrated has picked OU as it's preseason No. 1 and put Sooner defensive tackle Tommie Harris on the cover.

But don't tell Bob Stoops the Sooners will be jinxed because of it. The Sooner head coach isn't buying into the myth that whatever player or team is featured on the cover of the prestigous magazine will be jinxed, or have bad luck shortly after.

"I don't worry about jinxes," said Stoops.

"We never worry about stuff like that. The fact we are on the cover is nothing but a tremendous positive for this program. It give us tremdneous exposure, not only for this season but form many seasons to come.

"Many college football fans save this issue through the year for a reference. So all year people look at our picture. It's a tremendous boost for our recruiting, because once again those recruits are contantly looking at OU. It also shows that we are a national title contender. It shows the prestige of our program and what Oklahoma is all about."

The OU varsity will officially report tomorrow while the freshmen will get the day off. Fan appreciation day is scheduled for Thursday before the entire squad returns to the field Friday afternoon for their first workout.

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