Tuesday Practice And News

There are developments in the Matt Clark issue, Matt Moore gets closer to making a return, a familiar face comes to practice, and the wide receivers do extra, specific practice to work on catching the ball...

-- Cornerback Matt Clark practiced with the first team defense Tuesday, and Head Coach Karl Dorrell was optimistic about the chances of Clark returning to the team "soon." Dorrell said: "We're very optimistic things will work out. It has to go through a process to get approved by the NCAA and get approved by the university. It all has to take place and that doesn't happen in a few hours. But I'm optimistic he'll be ready to go for us this Saturday. It's just a matter of getting some issues cleaned up, in my opinion. I'm very optimistic he'll be back as soon as the end of this week."

When asked if he felt the matter could end Clark's season, Dorrell said, "No, I don't think that."

-- The wide receivers spent time at the end of practice catching tennis balls, to help them focus on watching the ball into their hands.

-- Sophomore starting offensive tackle Ed Blanton is suffering from concussive symptoms as a result of the Illinois game and practiced only lightly Tuesday, without contact. He's cleared and will practice Wednesday, and is expected to play on Saturday.

-- Quarterback Matt Moore is off crutches, while his knee is still pretty swollen. In just his jersey and shorts, Moore threw passes on the side of practice, and after practice he said he was optimistic he'll be able to return earlier than the original estimated recovery period. When asked if he thought he'd be able to practice next week he said, "I would think so, yeah. By the way my rehab's going. It's going great, and real fast. So, yeah, I think so. Hopefully I'll be able to practice next week. I just want to be in pads."

He was unsure of whether he'd wear a brace on his knee.

With next week's game being against San Diego State and the first game before conference play, Moore indicated he might not want to rush to return for that game. "But at the same time, knowing you're going into the Pac-10, if I know I can play, it wouldn't be bad to get a little work in. But it's too early to tell right now."

-- Keith Carter took a step in his recovery, taking reps with the scout team in a no-hit red jersey. Coach Dorell said about Carter: "So far nothing has been a set-back for him and it's good to see him back out there."

-- Joe Tomasello, the longsnapper who is sitting out the season due to academic issues because of his transfer from a JC, attended practice but didn't participate.

-- Tab Perry, the starting wide receive who is redshirting due to injury and academic issues, attended practice and ran sprints with the players.

-- Eight loud speakers were set up on the side of the practice field with the intent to simulate the noise at Oklahoma's Memorial Stadium. Coach Dorrell said they'll use the speakers Wednesday and Thursday.

Comments from Dorrell...

"It was a good practice today. We're excited about this challenge this week. We're going to put our best foot forward and see how we measure up against the best team in the country. All I know is we'll show up on Saturday and be ready to go."

On why practice ran late: "We did more individual periods, to address some of the issues that have been plaguing us for the last couple of weeks and to get more individual detail work on some of those issues. It was good. Hopefully those things will pay off for us by the end of the week."

On whether the team will be too pumped for Oklahoma: "I'd rather be too pumped up than not. I think our style, what we want to do, is to play hard on Saturdays. And yes, we need to play smart, understand our roles, and do our jobs and responsibilities. I really don't want to tailor their spirit for the game. We're trying to build on it."

On whether the offense has regressed in its development: "It hasn't regressed. It's just a matter of executing at certain times when you have a chance to make a play, and we're not making that play. That's why we're trying to address those issues more in practice and put our kids in those situations more often so when it does happen in a game they feel more comfortable doing it."

On the kind of practice the receivers had Tuesday: "They did better. They still had a few juggles here and there and that's something we'll continue to spend our time with."

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