Oklahoma Drill quick but deadly

It was the shortest six minutes of practice as fans were standing from the bleachers in an attempt to get the proper vantage point for the Oklahoma Drill, a staple of Chargers' practice with Marty Schottenheimer at the helm. The play-by-play:

"The first time I was exposed to it was part of training camp '71, Coach (Chuck) Knoll," explained Marty Schottenheimer.

Leander Jordan had the first tough assignment, locking horns with Igor Olshansky. Jordan met the challenge of "Igor" and turned him slightly so the running back could run through the lane, giving the first win to the offensive.

Quentin Jammer matched up with Kassim Osgood in the featherweight category and beat one of the better blocking receivers on the team to make the tackle – the first win for the defense.

Shane Olivea is just mean. He took Jacques Cesaire and drove him back and into the dirt, slamming him to the ground. It was a total massacre.

Terrence Kiel busted up rookie Vincent Jackson, showing the Northern Colorado receiver that he needs to brush up on his blocking skills to be effective in the NFL.

Toniu Fonoti against anyone was one of the most anticipated battles. With the crowd cheering on, Derreck Robinson got his name on the map by standing the big man up and pushing him back. He didn't make the tackle but got an arm in and slowed down the back.

"Robinson, going against Fonoti," Steve Foley recalled later. "He held his own. Anyone who knows Fonoti – he is a big boy. That is not someone you are going to move around. For him to hold his own was impressive."

Hanik Milligan continued the success of the featherweights by shedding the block attempts of Carl Morris and making a crushing tackle of the running back.

Ryon Bingham going against Mike Goff appeared to be a draw as Bingham got some push and Goff prevented him from making the tackle.

Cesaire had a chance to redeem himself but he met up with the technician after the mauler. Nick Hardwick used his finesse to steer Cesaire out of the play and open a lane for Ahmaad Galloway.

Wes Sims battled Jonathan Pollard in the trenches and Pollard made a nice swim to get past the Big Ten alumni. He made the tackle on the running back, gaining a win in the heavyweight division.

Wesley Britt faced speedster Shaun Phillips and in the confined space that is the Oklahoma Drill Phillips was not able to gain the edge and make the tackle as Britt rode him left and down to the ground as the runner, Michael Turner, hurdled them both to daylight.

Greg Camarillo took out Jerry Wilson with relative ease, driving him down the field and well out of the play.

Carlos Joseph and rookie first rounder Luis Castillo engaged with Darren Sproles in the backfield. Castillo had a tough time making his move and Sproles saw nothing but freedom.

Rob Milanese had the tough chore of holding Gabe Franklin up at the line and was not up to it. Franklin squeezed through the block and got a wrap on the running back.

Bob Hallen matched up with Jonathan Pollard and the wily veteran was able to turn the linebacker around and safely move him out of the play.

In a much anticipated battle, Donnie Edwards met David Brandt in the octagon. Brandt looked like he had the upper hand but Edwards broke off the block late and made the tackle, albeit a few yards down the field.

"I knew I was going to make my play," Edwards said confidently afterwards.

Safety Clinton Hart made a great move on rookie fullback Matthew Tant and blew up his play before it had a chance to develop.

Robinson was back at it with Cory Lekkerkerker and this time it was a decisive win for the offensive line as Lekkerkerker maintained his balance and got the push to give the back room to roam.

Castillo got his chance at redemption against rookie seventh rounder Scott Mruczkowski and did a great job shedding the tackle and making an arm tackle on the running back.

"It is the true essence of football," Castillo said afterward. It is a drill the lineman has been doing since he was a kid and it was something that the Northwestern coaches implemented as well. Although he ended up 1-1 on the day, he admitted it was fun.

Isaiah Ross met Jemelle "Steel" Cage in the ring with Ross up to the challenge. Cage tried to get underneath Ross and the big guard drove him off to the right and out of the running lane.

Jonathan Pollard matched up with rookie center Chase Johnson and came up with a pop but Johnson would not be swayed. The center held his position and Pollard was only able to get a weak hand on the running back.

Marques Harris then turned the tide when he trounced Carlos Joseph. Harris took less than a second to shed the block and pummeled the running back before he got between the mats. It was a resounding victory that earned praise from the coaching staff and fans alike.

When practice concluded, Coach Schottenheimer mentioned just one player who stood out during the drill: "Marques Harris made a terrific play on it."

Britt and Phillips had a rematch of their first battle and the results ended up the same with Britt taking out Phillips with relative ease.

Stephen Cooper seemed to draw a favorable matchup when he faced Landon Trusty – but that is why they play the game. Trusty did a perfect job with his block and set the runner into the open by turning Cooper off the lane.

The Steve Foley vs. Kris Dielman main event began with Dielman driving Foley backwards – but it was reset, a false start perhaps?

"Dielman is one of the dirtiest players on the team," Foley joked. "Dielman will pull some tricks on you. Things you have never heard."

When they were officially ready, Foley broke through the block and got a good wrap on Turner – but the running back snapped his tackle and left Foley on the ground without anything but memories in his hands.

"I shed the block and made the hit on him," said Foley. "Hopefully Igor (Olshansky) or somebody else was coming to clean him up because he ran through before I could finish him."

A fresh Matt Wilhelm met up with Ross and the big guard put his record at 2-0 by mauling the linebacker deep into the secondary.

Justin Peelle matched up with Robby Farmer and proved he was as touted, a great blocking tight end by opening up a hole for Tant to run through.

As for who won and who lost what was termed by several people as an offensive drill, Edwards prefers to think it was even. "I think it was pretty even. There were some nice battles out there."

Coach Schottenheimer pointed out the reasons he runs the Oklahoma Drill each year:

"There are a couple of redeeming qualities. It creates a little energy, a dynamic among your players. Guys cheering and trying to help their teammates get into a winning situation. There are fundamentals and techniques as you study the tape that you can find about a guys ability to create leverage, sustain a block and to shed a block."


SD Super Chargers Top Stories