Practice Report: Oklahoma
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
8/26/09 at 5:30 AM
Position coach Cale Gundy pronounces DeMarco Murray "100 percent" following a hamstring injury suffered during summer workouts. That's promising news for Oklahoma, considering Murray has been a gamebreaker the past two years when healthy. Chris Brown, the Sooners' second 1,000-yard rusher from a year ago is even more fit.
"There's no doubt he's faster," Gundy said. "His 40 times show it. And I think you will see a difference on game day."
Behind Brown is redshirt freshman Jermie Calhoun.
"He's 218 pounds, so he's bigger than most backs that we've had," Gundy said. "But he's got feet kind of like a scat guy... He's showed some signs of being a good football player. We're going to have to use him this year."
A little ways down the depth chart is Jonathan Miller, the only tailback the Sooners signed in their 2009 recruiting class.
"He hasn't hardly practiced at all," Gundy said. "He tweaked his ankle in the all-state Texas game. He tweaked it again here. But the little he's been out there, it looks like he's going to be a good football player. He's got some speed to him. He's got a lot of toughness to him. Jonathan has a chance to have a little bit of both of those guys (Murray and Brown)."
News and notes
Reynolds remains on track: As Mike Balogun continues to fight for his eligibility and Tom Wort faces a long rehabilitation from knee surgery, the Sooners can at least feel positive about their starter at the cursed position of middle linebacker. That's because Ryan Reynolds continues to respond well to his third knee surgery in three years.
"He's doing well, real well," OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "He hasn't had any limitations. Finds the ball every snap, is always in great position. He had 25-plus plays (in OU's recent scrimmage) and had seven or eight tackles. That's about par for the course for him."
"He's still the same Ryan," weakside linebacker Travis Lewis said. "He's making the checks. He's in the right place. He's covering up for my mistakes... Like yesterday (at the scrimmage), I was supposed to be inside and I was outside, and he just covered up for me. He's the Ryan of old."
When camp opened, Venables said he planned on resting Reynolds more this month than he did last August. Despite Balogun's issue and Wort's injury, Reynolds has been granted that rest.
"We'll overwhelm some guys with some reps here while we still can," Venables said, referencing true freshman linebackers like Ronnell Lewis and Jaydan Bird.
The Heisman difference: The only wide receiver on the OU roster to have started a college game is Ryan Broyles. Senior Adron Tennell has some game experience, and converted running back Mossis Madu has proven himself in the backfield. Otherwise, it's a green group of wideouts.
So how can quarterback Sam Bradford help with the transition?
"It makes a big difference in how to work and what he expects," coach Bob Stoops said. "It doesn't hurt, either, that the ball is right between your eyes every time and all you've got to do is put your hands up and it'll stay there usually."
Nebraska, Nov. 7
The Huskers figured to have security while breaking in new starting quarbackback Zac Lee — the return of I-backs Roy Helu Jr. and Quenin Castille. Now, howerver, Lee takes on an added burden with Bo Pelini's dismissal of Castille, a 467-yard rusher a year ago. Castille reportedly left the team and returned home to La Porte, Texas, for a period of time over the summer.
He returned, seemingly in the team's good graces, only to be booted over the weekend for a violation of undisclosed team rules. True freshman Rex Burkhead moves up the depth chart to compete for Castille's carries, along with a group of young backs. In the meantime, Helu's health (he has had hamstring issues) and Lee's development become that much more crucial.
Sept. 1: Next Bob Stoops press conference
Sept. 5: OU vs. BYU, 6 p.m., Cowboys Stadium, Dallas
Sept. 12: OU vs. Idaho State, 6 p.m., Sooners home opener
Oct. 10: OU vs. Baylor, Big 12 Conference opener
Sept. 5: BYU (at Arlington, Texas)ESPN-25 6 p.m.
Sept. 12: Idaho State PPV 6 p.m.
Sept. 19: Tulsa FSOK-27 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: at Miami TBA
Oct. 10: Baylor TBA
Oct. 17: Texas (at Dallas) KTUL-8 11 a.m.
Oct. 24: at Kansas TBA
Oct. 31: Kansas State TBA
Nov. 7: at Nebraska TBA
Nov. 14: Texas A&M TBA
Nov. 21: at Texas Tech TBA
Nov. 28: Oklahoma State TBA
Dec. 5: Big 12 Championship KTUL-8 7 p.m.
Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray (7) catches a ball during passing drills Monday, Aug. 17, 2009, during practice. Photo by Jerry Laizure