SPRING PRACTICE: Full pads bring out OU's spunk

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops and running back Kejuan Jones talk about Wednesday's practice

NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team completed their third workout of the spring on Wednesday, and by far, it was the most spirited yet.

The Sooners worked in full pads for the first time this spring for just over two hours in 80-degree temperatures.

"You could tell it was the first day of pads because it was spirited," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. "We had a couple of brawls out there, so it was fun. Even after wrestling with each other and fighting for a minute or two, they got up laughing at each other. The team is getting along great. That's good team spirit."

"It was just a good physical practice and guys are really competing well. It was good to watch and a good day."

Sophomore running back Kejuan Jones said he was ready to get to finally go in full pads.

"It's always fun to put the pads on and get back out there," said Jones. "That's football. It was a lot of fun out there today. I didn't run over Tommie Harris, but I did try to run hard."

Jones, who is running as the first team running back, also said the Oklahoma offense is out to prove their worth this spring.

"There's so much pub going to the defense, but the offense is out to show we're pretty good too. We need to show that we have talent on offense. They way we're thinking, it's going to be a real good year for the offense."

Speaking of Jones, the sophomore from Jenks had a fantastic practice and even ran through redshirt freshmen Larry Birdine on a couple of occasions. Jones is also starting to show that he can run the ball out of the shotgun and not just in power formations.

Renaldo Works is still running with the second string behind Jones and now seems to be getting equal snaps with Donta Hickson. Several of the OU players love Hickson's ability and he may finally get the chance to show it in tomorrow's scrimmage. Hickson also ran over Birdine on one run during practice today

As for Oklahoma's quarterback carousel, it was another average day for the Sooner signal-callers.

None of the Sooner quarterbacks stand out, but redshirt freshmen Noah Allen continues to look as good as anyone. The telling time for OU's quarterbacks will be in the scrimmages.

"The quarterbacks are doing well," said Stoops. "It's tough for all of them in the spring because the defense sees them every single day. So, they get used to recognizing some of the plays."

"Offensively, I think our offensive line is awfully impressive," Stoops continued. "I think with the addition of those two guards (Davin Joseph and Kelvin Chaisson) and the maturity of every body else, it is by far and away our best offensive line. We have not had one like it."

Joseph had another great practice on Wednesday highlighted by some great one-on-one battles with Tommie Harris. Another lineman who seems to have improved is junior Wes Sims. Sims dominated on the inside drills only getting beat once.

Stoops also couldn't go another day without pumping up his young receivers.

"Some of those young receivers are really good," said Stoops. "Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins are awfully impressive. They are really doing a lot of great things out there."

On defense, perhaps the one position that has stood out the most this spring is the Sooners' secondary.

Senior cornerback Derrick Strait had another interception today and nearly had two more. Brodney Pool picked off two passes of his own, one off the fingertips of Travis Wilson and the other on a deep flag route.

"The secondary is really strong. They are playing extremely well. I like what we are doing."

Pool and junior college transfer Donte Nicholson also had a couple of good hits today. Nicholson was impressive during his first day in full pads and even managed to derail Kejuan Jones on one collision. That's hard to do.

Stoops commented on the rest of the defense.

"I think they are all more active. I see Lynn McGruder making a lot of plays. The young defensive end - Larry Birdine - is doing well. We think he is going to be awfully good. We've got a real solid group."

At defensive end, Laenar Nixon seems to be progressing nicely after moving over from tight end. Nixon used his quickness today and came up with two sacks.

At linebacker, one OU coach says redshirt freshmen Rufus Alexander has star written all over him and he is showing that this spring. The only thing going against Alexander is that he plays behind two all-americans in Lance Mitchell and Teddy Lehman. Alexander showed his spunk today as he went toe-to-toe in a fight with Abner Estrada.

OU will return to the practice field tomorrow for the first scrimmage of the spring at 4:30 p.m. The Sooners will start out with some special teams work, short-yardage situations and third and long situations. Then, the first team defense will go against the first team offense and the second team offense will square off against the second team defense. Then the one's will face the two's.

"I'm really looking forward to that" said Kejuan Jones on tomorrow's scrimmage. "It will give us a good idea how where we're at and where we stand."

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