Friday 8/16 Evening Practice Report

Stoops calls practice early; Clayton impresses; A new punt returner emergers and much, much more...

The Oklahoma football team wrapped up their first full week of two-a-days with a one hour and 40 minute workout Friday night.

The Sooners only dressed in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads, but Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was so pleased with the effort he shut down practice 20 minutes early.

"Real good practice. You don't have to have bonecrushing hits to have a good practice," said Stoops.

"We just wanted to give them a chance to stay fresh for the scrimmage tomorrow. The practice was going really well. If practice goes well and the way we want, I'll let them get off early."

It looks as if Antonio Perkins is going to be OU's starting punt returner against Tulsa to open the season. Stoops was asked after practice if he would pull a freshmen out of his redshirt year to just return punts. Stoops immediately mentioned Perkins, who appears to have taken the lead for the job over Curtis Fagan.

"I think Perkins is going to be pretty good at it," said Stoops. "He's real good catching the ball and has good speed and acceleration after the catch."

"His high school clips returning the ball are just as good as anyone else's. We think Perkins is going to be pretty good."

The Sooner running backs worked a lot on blocking Friday evening. The running backs ability to block for the quarterback has always been a key in Oklahoma's offense under Bob Stoops.

Quentin Griffin, Jerad Estus, Kejuan Jones and Renaldo Works got the majority of the reps in this drill. Both Griffin and Jones were excellent taking on the oncoming blockers while Estus struggled the most.

Estus got destroyed by Larry Pinson twice. Pinson ate up Jerad Estus so bad in the drill that running backs coach Cale Gundy asked him if he was feeling okay. And while we're talking about Pinson; he is a load. It's a wonder why Pinson is not getting a chance at linebacker with the lack of depth and the fact he's not getting any reps with the first offense in the team drills.

One player who has made great strides over the summer is sophomore receiver Mark Clayton. Clayton had a great first scrimmage and could be on the verge of a major breakout season this year.

"He has great feet and the ability to make the first defender miss...and the second and the third," chuckled Bob Stoops.

"He's a guy we think we can hit with a five-yard pass and get 80 out of it."

Jason White and Nate Hybl split reps equally with the first unit during the team offense drill.

The quarterbacks were instructed to find their safety valves and both looked good swinging the ball to the backs out of the backfield in the flats.

Trent Smith was back and nobody was happier about his return then White. White went to Smith over the middle on three straight plays and also hit Fagan for a 15-yard gain on an out route against the first team defense.

On Hybl's best series, the senior had a potential touchdown pass to Will Peoples dropped, threw a beautiful out route to Clayton and ran a nice draw up the middle for positive yards. He then he hit Renaldo Works out of the backfield for a 30-yard gain.

Larry Birdine, Dusty Dvoracek, Jerod Fields and Darren Stephens were all held out of practice. Trent Smith returned to practice after missing this morning's workout while attending his grandmother's funeral.

Stoops said that Saturday morning's scrimmage will be structured exactly the same as Wednesday's. The scrimmage will begin at 10 am inside Memorial Stadium.

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