Sooner coaches have mixed reviews of scrimmage

Oklahoma running back KeJuan Jones (20) gets past defender Lynn McGruder during the team's final scrimmage before the season starts Aug. 30 against Tulsa. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

The Oklahoma football team went through their final open scrimmage before the 2002 season opener in front of an estimated 4,000 fans Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium in Norman.

The defense got the best part of the offense for most of the night, but Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was mostly concerned with defensive tackle Kory Klein, who appeared to be seriously injured late in the scrimmage.

"First of all thank goodness Kory is okay," said Stoops in his opening statement to the media immediately following the scrimmage. "He just bruised the inside of his knee. I was scared to death. I would've never forgave myself if he had been injured in the final two plays of the scrimmage."

"You always wonder if you should have had the starters out that late in the scrimmage, but we wanted them to get some work in the two minute drill. Thank goodness he is okay."

Overall, Stoops was pleased with the scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

"We had some good and some bad," said Stoops. "This was a scrimmage where we worked on situations. In some regards, it's hard to tell how they did."

"We're still rusty in a lot of areas," Stoops said. "We need to push through this week and improve some things. I think we can do that. I thought there were some positives and negatives which happens every time you scrimmage. We've just got to polish up."

Oklahoma's first team offense, which got a much deserved break from going head-to-head against the first team defense, played well for the most part.

"It was the type of scrimmage where you really don't get a great feel on how the offense is doing because we're chopping it up," said Sooner Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Chuck Long. "However we ran the ball better tonight. I thought Jason (White) was rusty still in spots."

In the first and goal portion of the scrimmage, Jason White and Quentin Griffin fumbled a hand-off exchange inside the red zone that was picked up by backup linebacker Gayron Allen and would have been returned 89-yards for a score.

White then bounced back on the next snap and completed a 10-yard touchdown pass on a slant that split three defenders to Curtis Fagan.

"One thing I liked about him (Jason White) was after the fumble he came right back and threw a touchdown pass, said Sooner Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Chuck Long. "I love the fact he can forget about a bad play and come back and be strong the next series."

"I thought our quarterbacks threw the ball pretty well," said Stoops. "I th ought we made some improvement in our running game."

White completed 21-of-27 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns against the second team defense. In addition to his touchdown pass to Fagan, White hit tight end Lance Donely for a four-yard score.

"I didn't necessarily see any big plays tonight, but I have seen them during two-a-days. I still feel we need to make improvement in this area, but I think we are getting there. One guy we don't have to worry about is Trent Smith. He makes a big play every time he catches the ball."

One major bright spot for the Oklahoma offense on Tuesday night was redshirt freshmen Kejuan Jones. Jones continue to make big plays, whether it be against the first or second team defense.

"Kejuan continues to look real good," said Long.

Jones said the biggest adjustment he's made that's helped him pick it up a notch was running where the play was called.

"In high school I probably made my move before getting to the hole," said Jones. "My biggest adjustment here is hitting the some I'm supposed to hit and then making my move. I thought I did that tonight and I was fortunate to have some success."

Jones carried the ball seven times for 39 yards, including a great 20-yard touchdown run against the second team defense.

Starting center Vince Carter jammed his thumb during the scrimmage and was replaced by Brad Davis, Chris Bush and Abner Estrada.

Estrada is currently the second team center, but Oklahoma coaches are trying to get Bush ready to play the position in so they don't have to pull Estrada out of redshirt.

The Oklahoma defense was dominate again for the most part. Despite giving up a 69-yard touchdown pass DaBryan Blanton for a score and a big run by Larry Pinson, Sooner Co-Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables said the defense fared well.

"The scrimmage was okay for us, said Venables. "We had to play so many different players that we weren't in sync. "We got a chance to look at Gayron Allen, Wayne Chambers, Rufus Alexander and Russell Dennison a lot and I think they are good players. We have to get them ready to play because we need the depth."

"Over the next several days we have to get used to recognizing our opponents. sets", continued Venables. "That's what we'll be concentrating on over the next several days."

"It's obvious our defense is pretty good working against our offense," said Bob Stoops. "But when we threw some other aspects at our defense that our opponents will run against them, they struggled because they haven't seen it yet this year."

"We were holding a number of our guys out defensively which hurts us, but it was good to take a look at some younger players."

The Oklahoma defense scrimmaged tonight without starters Tommie Harris and Brandon Everage. Pasha Jackson stung his shoulder in the kick-off drills at the beginning of practice and played sparingly.

The Sooners will practice twice tomorrow at 7:45 am and 2:30 pm at the intramural practice fields.

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