The Oklahoma football team returned to the practice fields bright and early Thursday morning after last night's scrimmage for a light two-hour workout in shorts and shoulder pads.
For the first time this spring the players seemed a little fatigued and the Oklahoma coaches seemed to take it easy on them this morning for the most part.
Junior quarterback Jason White continues to take the snaps with the first team offense and looked good doing so again. White was flawless in the skelly and team blizt drills against the first team defense, finding his open receivers and not making any mistakes.
Redshirt freshmen Brent Rawls, who will be out for 3-6 weeks after tearing ligaments in his right thumb last night, was not a today's practice because he is attending the funeral of his grandfather.
Stepping in for Rawls as OU's third team quarterback was true freshmen Paul Thompson. When the Sooners broke into their team drills Thompson stayed to work with the first team offense against the second team defense, while Noah Allen worked with the second team offense against the first team defense.
Thompson waited his turn behind White and second string quarterback Nate Hybl, and finally got in a few snaps at the end of practice with the first team offense. Thompson still seems to be trying to grasp the offense. On one play he had trouble deciphering the play signals being motined in from Chuck Long on the sidelines. After a couple of trys, Hybl finally just yelled out to him what play to call.
Another player who seemed to get more reps with the first unit was redshirt freshmen Kejuan Jones. Jones, who carried the ball 17 times for 71 yards against the second string defense in last night's scrimmage, got a chance to show his stuff with the first team because Renaldo Works did not go through contact drills today.
Fifth-year senior Brad Davis appears to have locked up the starting left guard spot, at least for now. Davis ran with the first team offensive line again today. Davis certainly doesn't look intimidating when you line him up with the other Sooner offensive lineman, but he has apparently made strides and has impressed new line coach Kevin Wilson.
After picking on linebacker Pasha Jackson during the last two days of practice, Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops has found a guinea pig to get vocal with. Today's unlucky Sooner was Eric Bassey, who drew the fury of Stoops on several occassions. Stoops was on Bassey this morning for his inability to line up in the right spot, but when he did he always put himself in a position to make a play. Bassey seems to have a knack for finding the right time to blitz off the corner and disrupt the quarterback, whether it be batting down passes or altering throws, which he did many times today.
Antonio Perkins continues to work at safety in the Sooners' 'dime' package and played well today during the skelly and team blitz drills. Mike Stoops praised Perkins several times for his coverage. Perkins made a great play knocking a ball away from Curtis Fagan on a sideline route thrown by Hybl. Fagan appeared to have a couple steps on Perkins and the pass from Hybl was one of those passes that was thrown to a spot that you would think only the receicer could catch. But Perkins closed beautifully from his safety spot, leaped at the right moment, reached over Fagan and knocked the ball away from Fagan, who would have made the catch with one foot in bounds near the sideline.
Perkins also seems to be making a move toward challenging Fagan for the starting punt return duties. Perkins was the first of the two to field punts in last nights scrimmage and did so again today. The returners still haven't returned and punts against a live coverage unit yet and continue to work on just catching the ball.
True freshmen JeJuan Rankins also got a lot of work on the side today catching punts from a pitching machine that boomed high flying 40-yard punts. Rankins was the only Sooner to catch punts from the machine and looked very smooth doing so. If he can run with the ball as good as he looks catching it, he is definitely going to be a factor returning punts in the future.
On the injury front, offensive lineman Jerod Fields did not practice today after suffering a bruised lower back in last night's scrimmage. Defensive tackle Lynn McGruder did not scrimmage last night but returned to practice today while Dusty Dvoracek was held out once again.
Former Oklahoma quarterbacks Patrick Fletcher and Josh Heupel were both in attendance at this morning's practice. Fletcher spent a lot of time observing Chuck Long coach the OU quarterbacks and Heupel seemed to be especially interested in observing the offense as a whole.
A possible future Oklahoma quarterback was in attendance at this morning's practice as well. California quarterback Kyle Wright is on a nation-wide tour visiting college campuses with his father and has been in Norman since yesterday. Wright has already toured Florida State and Miami along with Oklahoma and will travel to Texas later this week.
Wright spent a lot of time watching OU's quarterbacks and was often standing in between Chuck Long and Bob Stoops. The Sooners coaches seemed to be paying a lot of attention to the talented youngster. In addition to Miami, Florida State and OU, Wright is considering Tennesse, Texas and USC.
The Sooners will work out again tonight at 6 pm.
Thursday Morning Practice Report
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