Chargers Camp: The Oklahoma Drill

<b>Oklahoma Drill:</b> Two mats are placed about three yards apart and a running back must run through the tiny space already occupied by one offensive player and one defensive player, who are pitted in a one-on-one drill and smacking pads with ferocity. The defensive player must try to shed the block and tackle the oncoming running back who is looking for the elusive open lane. <br><br> We have the details of almost every matchup on the day!

As usual, the Oklahoma Drill brought a big crowd to Camp, this time in Carson. On another beautiful afternoon, in the town that gets little respect, players banged pads and got the crowd pumped up with several members of both the offense and defense claiming victories.

Three separate spots on the field held the drill. One had the wide receivers facing defensive backs and the other two saw linemen facing off and tight ends and backs versus linebackers.

Now the juicy recap:

Tim Dwight continued his excellence in blocking by taking Kevin House to school. Dwight had a great push off the line and pushed House off to the left leaving a gaping hole behind. Dwight has effectively carried over his blocking skills from last year.

Tay Cody got an arm extended to get the back at the line trying to get through the small crevice Reche Caldwell created.

The extra weight Eric Parker gained this offseason paid off when he sealed Tony Okanlawon from getting any penetration. Parker had a spectacular day all around.

Brian Sump had a little trouble off the snap with Jerry Wilson, but regained his footing to open a hole for his back.

Tim Baker had the mission of stopping Kwamie Lassiter and was unable to hold him off, but Lassiter missed the tackle.

Drayton Florence faced off against Kassim Osgood and took both Osgood and the running back trying to get by down to the ground. Chock another win up for Florence on the day as he continues to show he has all the skills to be special.

Cory Raymer did a nice job at the point of attack to neutralize Otis Leverette allowing the back to slip through unscathed.

Phil Bogle out muscled Marcellus WIley at the line and made Wiley look like the rookie, drawing a huge cheer from the crowd in attendence.

Bob Hallen, who has moved to center, cleared Tim Love from making an impact during the drill. Hallen showed nice drive as they met with helmets clashing before pushing Love out of the play.

Toniu Fonoti then lined up against Jamal Williams in a fierce battle of brute strength. This play was the first true draw of the day. Williams stood Fonoti up and got some push against him as the back ran right into both behemoths. The back was eventually able to get through but only after changing direction twice.

The next battle saw two of the biggest guys on the Chargers roster facing off. Kelvin Garmon faced Doug Sims. The first go round ended in an offsides call. The second time out, Garmon manhandled Sims turning him to the outside to open the lane.

Luke Butkus, the NFL Europe veteran, did a nice job on Omari Hand. Butkus, recently recovered from a groin injury, showed some nice pop to drive Hand out of the play.

Kris Dielman overpowered Kevin Breedlove at the line and got both hands wrapped around Antoineo Harris to bring him down.

Zeke Moreno took the liberty of a running start to make the hit of the day on Courtney VanBuren and DeMarco McCleskey. Moreno popped Van Buren square in the mouth pushing the big man back before wrapping up McCleskey. The play drew the biggest cheers from the crowd and jeers from the defense who claimed a huge victory.

Taking the same strategy, Donnie Edwards stood ready to pop his man and did. The outcome was not nearly as effective as the way Moreno took his man out. While Edwards did get his hands on the running back he was unable to corral him and bring him down. Butkus was again in protection and did a commendable job considering the running start Edwards had and the cut on his face from the lick he took.

Phil Bogle then brought the offensive line back to respectability when he took Carlos Polk and threw him around like a rag doll. Bogle could have chosen any way to push and Polk would have had little choice but to abide.

Matt Wilhelm showed his strength taking on Breedlove and got a hand on his man but he was unable to bring him down as Breedlove had one hand tied up and 300 pounds pushing up on him.

LeMarcus McDonald showed why he is so strong in run support when he took down his man despite giving away 75 pounds to Alex Tuttle. McDonald was able to spin away from Tuttle at the last moment to get the back as he tried to scamper past.

After the highly celebrated Oklahoma Drill ended, practice concluded. While many fans clamored it was a bit too short everyone got their turn to do battle. The action was quick and ferocious and this practice marked the first time the players dressed in full pads.

At the end of the day, it is hard to see why Washington Redskins players had a problem with the drill.

Many Chargers players pumped each other up when they did well, while the players who did not fare so well went away wanting to do better. The heated competition it created is just a small sampling of the rest of camp when 31 players will be cut from the 84 currently in camp.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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