Practice Report: Oklahoma
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, August 27, 2009
8/27/09 at 6:05 AM
A key spot for Oklahoma, and not just because Jermaine Gresham has returned for his senior season. If OU's inexperienced set of wide receivers take some time to settle in, Sam Bradford will be looking for alternative outlets.
That means more balls to Gresham, and perhaps sophomore tight end James Hanna.
"James has a chance to complement Jermaine because Jermaine will get a little gassed in some of the games, as fast as (the offense) goes," said Kevin Wilson, the Sooners' offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. "Initially, I thought we might redshirt him, but he's probably receiver number five or six on our team as far as making plays.
"In some of our spread, one-back sets you'll see tight ends out there, and that'll be James and Jermaine."
When OU goes to its short-yardage double-tight end formation, Gresham and Brody Eldridge are obvious candidates to bracket the line. Or Eldridge could move to fullback and allow Eric Menik (6-6, 265) or Trent Ratterree (6-3, 225) to join Gresham at tight end.
News and notes
Gabe Lynn update: Of the five high school defensive backs the Sooners signed last February, three are in position to make the two-deep — cornerback Demontre Hurst, free safety Marcus Trice and strong safety Javon Harris.
Another, Kevin Brent, is just now being cleared for contact drills after undergoing shoulder surgery last spring.
That leaves Gabe Lynn, who Scout.com rated the No. 1 prep cornerback in the nation at Jenks last year. How is he doing?
"Gabe has shown good signs, although he was dinged up for a good part of camp and missed five or six days with a hip flexor," secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright said. "He hasn't gotten the chance to take near as many reps as everybody else. But we have seen enough to feel really good about where he is."
Closed call: Maybe OU punter Tress Way hits the video board hanging over the Cowboys Stadium field Sept. 5. Or perhaps he hits the roof. The Union graduate will have that opportunity — it has been determined that the roof of the new stadium will be closed for the 6 p.m. game.
ESPN's broadcast crew that night will be Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
Nothing personal: At least two Sooners aren't hung up on the fact that ESPN analyst Andre Ware predicted they would go 8-4 this season.
"I don't listen to the media," running back DeMarco Murray said. "SportsCenter will come on and talk about college and I'll change the channel. I just try to tune it out."
"I'm not going to lie to you and say I don't pay any attention to the media at all. But during the offseason, that's like the offseason," said left guard Brian Simmons. "Once the season starts is when you'll see me crazily checking up on things.
"I'm pretty sure there's been some other reporters on College Football Live saying the same thing. They might not have said a specific record, but they've said they don't expect us to do as well. Everybody has an opinion.
"I'm not mad at him for saying that. Do I agree with him? No. But they're just doing their job."
BYU, Nov. 7
The Cougars have several injury concerns as they wrap up preseason camp, particularly on an offensive line that didn't have a lot of experience to begin with. But if the line heals and/or gels by the season opener, Max Hall can be a dangerous quarterback for OU to defend. Hall went 13-of-14 for 165 yards and two touchdowns during BYU's most recent scrimmage, including a 5-of-5 showing on third down, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The newspaper did note that the Cougars' starting defensive line was held out, as was safety Andrew Rich. Also banged up is running back Harvey Unga (hamstring) and safety Scott Johnson (concussion), although both are expected to play in the opener.
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
Oklahoma tight end jermaine Gresham lines up during practice. Jerry Laizure