OU Notebook: Powell's back
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
12/27/11 at 4:22 AM
Related Story: Lewis' silence puzzles Sooner teammates
Oklahoma opened Insight Bowl practice on Monday at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Ariz., with a new face (sort of) working at wide receiver. The first four wideouts are Kenny Stills, Dejuan Miller, Kameel Jackson and Trey Franks. First off the bench behind them? Joe Powell, the one-time receiver who spent the season at defensive back, though he hardly played there this year.
"It's something we've been looking at so we'll see where that goes moving forward," Bob Stoops said. "I'm not sure going forward. He was doing a good job at corner, too. That may be something just for the short term."
Said receivers coach Jay Norvell, "My room is not as quiet as it used to be. But Joe is back and it's like riding a bike and he jumped right in. He's a great kid and a tough competitor and it's good to have him back."
Freshman quarterback Kendal Thompson got a few snaps at receiver last week in Norman and was back at it Monday, though co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said Thompson has an injury (which prevents him from throwing) and won't play in the bowl game.
Roster moves: Powell and Thompson playing wideout was necessitated by the apparent departures of backup wideouts Sheldon McClain and Justin McCay. They were not at practice and have been reported to have left the program, though Stoops declined comment. Stoops said last week he'd likely announce more transfers next semester.
"You (media) like to talk about who isn't here," Stoops said Monday. "I like to talk about who's here."
McClain and McCay both posted thoughts on their Twitter feed while their teammates were practicing. So did defensive tackle Torrea Peterson, who also has been replaced on the two-deep by freshman Marquis Anderson. Peterson tweeted, "Easy to dream a dream, but its harder to live it," while the receivers tweeted about going to the mall and ice skating.
Their interaction on social media during a scheduled practice indicates they're not in Phoenix.
Asked if it would just be easier to confirm players' departures instead of leaving everyone guessing, Stoops said no.
"Because that's what you guys would talk about instead of guys that are here playing," he said. "Accentuate the negative, right?"
Bell's bodyguard: With short-yardage fullback Aaron Ripkowski out of the Insight Bowl with a neck injury, linebacker Jaydan Bird has moved over to offense. OK, not really. Only when the Sooners go to Blake Bell's "BellDozer" package.
"I was excited and ecstatic about it, being able to help the team and contribute on both sides of the ball," Bird said.
"I don't know what's going on," said linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "I'm like, 'Where's my guy?' We just work around it. It's no big deal."
Both Bell and Bird are from Wichita and are old acquaintances. Bird said playing both ways feels like high school again. He's listed as the backup on both offense and defense.
"I only know a few plays," Bird said. "Coach (Cale) Gundy will call me over and we'll run four or five plays. Then I'll run back over to defense."
For the record, both Stoops and Heupel used the word "BellDozer" to reporters on Monday, possibly the first time they've used it in public, though Stoops thinks he's used it before.
"I kind of liked it," Stoops said. "I thought it fit."
Reynolds wrap: Injured Jaz Reynolds attended practice Monday alongside injured Ryan Broyles (injured guard Adam Shead also watched from the sideline). Norvell said Reynolds intended to play next season after he fully heals from an injured kidney.
"He was bad," Norvell said. "We were fortunate. ... He's a pretty fortunate guy. He's going to miss this game, but he'll be back. And he'll be back 100 percent.
"When you're talking about major organs getting damaged, you have to look really hard about playing ball. There was never a hesitation or any doubt. Jaz wants to play. ... You can only play football when you're young. When you get old like me, you just wish you could play. The kid wants to live his life the way he wants to. As long as the doctors think it's safe enough for him to play, I'm all for it."
OU coach Bob Stoops said he wasn't thinking about players who were not at practice Monday. "You (media) like to talk about who isn't here," Stoops said. "I like to talk about who's here." STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World