Cooler than normal early August temperatures marked the third practice of two-a-days for the Oklahoma Sooners.
When asked if he preferred warmer temperatures to start, OU head coach Bob Stoops said, "No, I think that we'd take this every day if we could. It's easier on the team and when their fresher, their execution is better and it's easier for them to concentrate and remember their assignments. I'd take one or two days like this every year."
The AP Pre-season Poll was announced shortly before the start of the late afternoon session. Coach Stoops was asked his reaction to his Sooner team being voted the number two team in the country behind Miami. "It's OK. It puts us in a position to accomplish our goals, it's not a bad spot to start from." Stoops confirmed that he had a vote in the coaches poll but would not disclose where he placed his own team. "That's privileged information," he joked, "but it's probably accurate to say that it was somewhere in the top ten."
The kickers and special teams had the full attention at the beginning of practice and the pattern of the last two days continued to hold. Combined, Steven Saburri and Trey DiCarlo were 14 of 18 for the day.
Blake Ferguson punted well and there was no indication at this point that freshman Travis Wilson would get a chance to show his punting ability perhaps because he is needed in another capacity on the punt team, as one of the outside ‘gunners' along with Antonio Perkins, Derrick Strait, and freshmen Aaron Miller.
On the punt receiving unit, Andre Woolfolk's ability to provide protection likely means he's needed until someone steps up with equal or better skills. While Brandon Jones has not seen a lot of time in the punt return slot, he and Kejuan Jones might be the best potential punt blockers on the team rushing from the outside, and will most likely contribute there this year.
At running back Donta Hickson had an exceptional day, as did Larry Pinson at fullback, who on his initial carries showed good speed. It's evident that Pinson is a tailback playing fullback. Freshman J.D. Runnels also showed promise and determination as he is willing to go through a wall. Other notable performances came from Jerad Estus who showed great speed on the corners.
Notable plays on defense were turned in by Dan Cody, who had an exception ‘effort' interception against Jason White and has proven to everyone that ‘Dan is back.' Jonathon Jackson also performed well at defensive end.
Jimmy Wilkerson and Curtis Fagan were held out due to heat problems suffered in the first practice Saturday. Both are expected to return soon, and Dusty Dvoracek was held out due to a minor shoulder injury, and is also expected back soon).
In the defensive backfield, Brodney Pool is beginning to catch on and play well. He has the physical presence to most resemble departed Roy Williams in time, while Brandon Shelby is showing promise as the teams best blitz specialist. Eric Bassey has not yet settled into the Roy spot and still sometimes struggles getting into position. .
Young linebackers doing well included Rufus Alexander and Wayne Chambers who both showed they know how to hit. When asked to comment about his new linebackers Brent Venables said: "At this point have about as many mistakes as I thought we'd have and we have some athletes that have a long way to go, but we're going to be pretty good and some young players like Dennison are beginning to make some plays." Pasha Jackson and Lance Mitchell both had a good day.
Along the line senior backup Brad Davis has become a leader by example. Davis had a great day and is showing the young pups that college ball cen be pretty demanding.
Tommie Harris had an average ‘Tommie day,' yet an exceptional one for anyone else. Two young freshmen, Larry Birdine and Calvin Thibodeaux, caught the eye of the coaches and showed terrific ability to rush from the outside.
Saturday 8/10 Practice Report
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