Wednesday's Practice News and Notes

See inside for the inside scoop on Wednesday's scrimmage, including quotes from Bob Stoops, Brent Venables and Allen Patrick. Redshirt freshman DeMarco Murray (pictured) continues to generate a buzz with his play.

As usual during this time of the year, Oklahoma had a brief scrimmage at the end of practice on this Wednesday.

Bob Stoops talked about the scrimmage after practice.

"It went real well," said Stoops. "I thought the guys competed for the most part really well. It is always hard for me to say one side or the other played better. I am pleased with some plays on one side and then pleased with the other on some others. We are working in a good way. I thought, defensively, we were pretty physical. They didn't have many mistakes, but we were limited in what we were able to do offensively. Some guys are doing some really good things. DeMarco Murray is doing some really good things and I thought, defensively, Gerald McCoy continues to look good. So, overall the scrimmage was good."

One development to come out of practice centered around redshirt sophomore WILL linebacker Ryan Reynolds, who has injured his non-surgically reparied knee and may miss the rest of spring. He suffered a sprained MSL, or at least that is the way it was described to me, and he will not need surgery. Ryan was walking around in street clothes after practice. While the injury is sore he will only be out two to three weeks, but that is about what is left in spring practice.

With Reynolds out, junior Curtis Lofton moved to the WILL and JUCO transfer Mike Reed worked at MLB with Lewis Baker at SLB.

"The guys who have looked the best and have a chance to be really, really good are Ryan Reynolds and Curtis Lofton in there inside ," said Stoops. "Demarrio Pleasant and Lewis Baker have played a ton at the SAM, and they will be solid. Those guys have really been good and it is just learning everything. Mike Reed is getting better and doing a good job. Lamont (Robinson) is getting better, but it takes some time and takes a lot of snaps."

Defensive Coordnator and linebacker coach Brent Venables says the linebacker group is beginning to play better.

"I like the flexibility of this group," said Venables. "Curtis really played well today at the WILL, and Mike Reed stepped in and did some good things. He had the bust on the one big play, because he just didn't know. It was just a mental error on what he was suppoed to do in coverage. Otherwise, I was really pleased with Curtis being able to move there. He showed that it is identical to the MIKE, except you have the same opposite drop and the opposite run fit. Curtis has played the SAM and the MIKE and now the WILL, and he understands. So we have somebody we can move if we have that case come up during the season as we always search for the best three players to form the best combination.

Coach Venables also felt the defense made big improvement in this scrimmage from the last.

"We had another good day," said Venables. "I thought our guys competed very well and played with great effort, focus and we played with good intensity. That was good improvement. We gave up only one big play today and I was very pleased with the effort. I think, collectively, they played well and competed well. They just had a really good attitude and approach, and you hope that is an infectious and contagious type of attitude. It makes playing and practicing fun when you have that kind of approach. It is a culture that you try to create and demand and expect."

For the most part, the defense got the best of the scrimmage.

On the offensive end, senior Allen Patrick will be the starter at running back, but he will not handle that position alone. And once again, the buzz following practice surrounded Murray.

"DeMarco is very versatile," said Stoops. "If he wanted to be a cornerback he could probably be an All-American cornerback. If he wanted to be a wideout he could do that, but he wants to be a running back and we can use him in a lot of ways. He is a great athlete, has a great attitude and he has a chance to be a great player this year."

Patrick is having a very good spring, but he is well aware that he has competition in the spring.

"Hey, the more competition that we have the better," said Patrick. "I know what I can do and I am going to be the main tailback next year, but we are going to have a number of running backs that play well for us. We have great running backs here and they are all pretty good. I understand that and that is good for our football team."

OU has used three to four runing backs during a season the last couple of years, so you can expect OU to play a number of running backs again this year.

"It is really no big deal," said Stoops. "I don't know many teams in the top 10 in the country that don't have at least four running backs. With this group, I think it is probably fair to say that none of these guys have the physical stanima and prowess like Adrian did to play 50 snaps a game. So, we are going to need all four of them and we will play a bunch of them and keep them fresh. We will try to play to their strengths and what they are able to do. I am excited about our running back situation because we will need all of them. And they have looked good so far."

Sophomore Chris Brown is also having a very good camp, and Mossis Madu continues to make a play or two that draws rave reviews from his teammates.

The offense made one big play today when Joey Halzle hit tight end Joe Jon Finley on a boot pass that caught the defense out of position. However, that only happened once today and for the most part the defense ruled the day.

Junior left tackle Phil Loadholt was in a boot again today. Big Phil wants to practice, but the coaches are holding him back so that he can get well for the summer and two-a-days. However, he is a tough guy and if the Sooners were playing this weekend I think he would be playing.


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