NORMAN, Okla. — The 2003 spring football season officially began Monday as the Oklahoma football team worked out for almost three hours in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads on the South practice fields.
"We had a great first practice. I'm truly amazed at how much they continue to retain," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops after practice. "I know I say this every year, but we did have some changeover at quarterback and with some of our receivers and in the secondary."
"We picked up right where we left off at the Rose Bowl. The guys looked very sharp and quick. When you know your assignments you can play football and our guys know what they're doing."
All eyes were on the quarterbacks as the battle to replace Nate Hybl is the story to follow this spring.
Senior quarterback Jason White, who has appeared to have bulked up from head to toe in the offseason, took the first snaps with the Sooner offense in most of the drills. White was followed by Paul Thompson (has switched numbers from No. 14 to No. 12), Brent Rawls and Noah Allen in that order.
"Jason looks like he's almost 100 percent," said Stoops. "In fact, we expect him to be released this Friday. He should be able to go through the last two scrimmages with us."
"Jason is almost doing everything that we're doing now. The only time he missed a drill today was in the team drills when they were putting his second brace on. We're just trying to do everything we can to make sure he stays healthy."
Stoops aid he expects White to go through the final two scrimmages.
"I thought the quarterbacks looked good. "All of them have their moments," Stoops continued. "Our receivers looked quick and were catching the ball and the guys on defense were flying around."
At running back, it was Renaldo Works who got the first snaps in the inside and team drills with Kejuan Jones, Donta Hickson and Jerad Estus following him.
Jammal Brown, Davin Joseph, Vince Carter, Kelvin Chaisson and Wes Sims worked with the first team offensive line. Lance Donley was the first tight end to work in team drills followed by James Moses and Chris Chester. J.D. Runells also worked some at tight end as the motion man who starts in the backfield and then goes in motion past the quarterback down the line.
On defense it was Jonathan Jackson and Dan Cody at the defensive ends, Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek at the tackles, Antonio Perkins and Derrick Strait at the corners, Donte Nicholson, Brodney Pool and Matt McCoy at the safeties, and Teddy Lehman and Lance Mitchell at linebacker. When OU worked on their 4-3 defense Wayne Chambers worked as the third linebacker with Pool taking McCoy's spot at safety.
Brandon Everage and Pasha Jackson both missed today's practice after having shoulder surgery in the offseason.
One player who is finally back at 100 percent is junior defensive tackle Tommie Harris. Harris went through every drill and appears to finally be healthy from his hamstring troubles a year ago.
"Tommie is 100 percent and I'm glad for him," said Stoops. "It got frustrating at times for him last year when he couldn't go 100 percent. When you're as explosive as Tommie and you don't have your wheels it frustrates you.
"Tommie is a really good football player and he's very important to our team. The team can feed off his emotions and his ability. When he feels good about himself the defense plays better."
The Sooners also had the chance to host two of the Lone Star State's top prospects for unofficial visits on Monday. Burnet, Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley and quarterback Stephen McGee attended practice with their families. Shipley spent most of his time watching the OU receivers while McGee shadowed QB Coach Chuck Long's every move.
The Sooners will practice again on Tuesday from 3:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Stoops says Sooners picked up where they left off
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