Sooners go through light workout on day three

News and notes from Oklahoma's second and third days of Rose Bowl preparation in California. Left: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops stands on the field during practice on the campus of Loyola Marymont University in the Westchester section of Los Angeles. At right is tigh end Chris Chester (84). (AP Photo/Jean-Marc Bouju)

LOS ANGELES -- The Oklahoma football team went through their third workout in California on Saturday afternoon in preparation for Wednesday's Rose Bowl matchup against Washington State.

The Sooners were allotted two hours for practice, but only used about an hour and a half of their workout time. Oklahoma worked out in full pads in each of their first two workouts at Loyola Marymount, but just worked on schemes and fundamentals in helmets and shoudler pads this afternoon.

Receivers Antwone Savage and Brandon Jones, who missed Friday's workout after getting banged up Thursday, both returned to the practice field.

The Oklahoma defense continued to work on lining up in their dime and nickel packages against Washington State's offensive sets. Antonio Perkins and Brandon Shelby will see a lot of playing time again in the Sooners' six defensive back set, and expect both to blitz on several occassions. With OU using more of nickel and dime packages, junior linebacker Pasha Jackson will be the odd man out and will only see action on short-yardage situations.

Tommie Harris is back on the practice field and the super sophomore said he hasn't felt this healthy and fresh all season. Dusty Dvoracek also said that the time off has helped him heal up from some of his minor injuries and bruises acquired during the season.

As for the offense, senior quarterback Nate Hybl continues to play with a chip on his shoulder and continues to have great workouts throwing the football.

"He's never looked better," noted Trent Smith after Saturday's practice.

Washington State met with the Oklahoma media Saturday morning and the Cougars appear to be a very respectful, yet confident football team.

They gave Oklahoma credit at every opportunity, but also like to point out they're a good football team as well. From hearing their comments, you get the feeling they believe they are one of college football's big-time programs.

Washington State's defensive backs are a very confident bunch and say they don't fear Oklahoma's receivers. They believe that they face better receivers every day in practice and most weeks against the other Pac-10 teams. One WSU defensive player even commented that he thought OU's best receiver was Trent Smith, and that his best asset was his height.

WSU defensive tackle Rien Long, who won the Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman, talked about counterpart Tommie Harris when asked about the his preseason hype, yet lack of statistical production.

"It just shows you all the hype sometimes doesn't play up," said Long. "Don't get me wrong, I think he's a fabulous player, but nobody really challenges him. I think the difference in the preseason hype between him and I just goes to show where people see our programs, but we are a pretty good team too."

And finally, Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops had heard enough from the California media and decided to have a little fun with them after practice on Saturday when asked what he thought about the California climate.

"It's warm in Oklahoma too you know," said Stoops with a smirk on his face. "It may snow a couple of days back in Oklahoma but we certainly have sunshine and hot weather back at home, just like here in LA."

Friday, December 27 Report
by James Hale

LOS ANGELES -- As Oklahoma's first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl approaches, the Sooners are beginning to take things a little more seriously in California.

As part of Oklahoma's Rose Bowl festivities, the Sooners will be headed to the 'Beef Bowl' at Lawry's Steakhouse after practice today for a good old steak-eating contest. But OU Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jerry Schmidt says don't expect his guys to give their best effort.

"I don't think you'll see any of our guys win," said Schmidt. "We've got a game to play."

Oklahoma held their second workout in California on Friday and began preparations for Washington State.

Antwone Savage (ankle) and Brandon Jones (knee) missed Friday's workout and Tommie Harris returned to the practice field after missing the team plane because of ticket issues on Wednesday. Both Savage and Jones are expected to play next Wednesday. Here are some more news and notes from James Hale.

• Expect to see the Sooners use a lot of five and six defensive back sets in an attempt to slow down Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser and their passing game. Antonio Perkins is working a lot in the secondary see more time in the secondary, meaning less time linebacker Pasha Jackson.

• Oklahoma's biggest concern on defense is matching up with Washington State slot receiver Devard Darling, who caught 49 passes for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. OU hopes that lining up Perkins opposite of him will give them a better matchup against Darling in the slot.

• Washington State defensive coordinator and successor to Mike Price — Bill Doba — said Saturday morning that facing Oklahoma's offensive attack will be an adjustment for his defense.

"We've never seen anything like it before," said Doba. "Nobody out here runs out of the shotgun in the Pac-10. Quentin Griffin is a phenomenal running back."

• When one reporter from Washington asked OU quarterback Nate Hybl if the Sooners rooted for Oklahoma State yesterday in the Houston Bowl, the Sooners senior quarterback didn't have much love for the Cowboys.

"This isn't going to come out right, but no," said Hybl. "We usually root for the conference, but not for them (OSU), or Texas."

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