OU football practice report
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
8/08/12 at 3:17 AM
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Position update: Center
Sometime before Ben Habern decided to protect his health and stop playing, Gabe Ikard received a text message from Austin Woods that began: "Hey, guess what ..."
"I was just dreading two-a-days," Ikard said. "I knew Ben was iffy because he shared some of his feelings with me. I was going to end up at center with no backup. Ever. I was going to have to play every play all the time."
Instead, Woods, a junior who was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer, was given the go-ahead to go through preseason drills. Ikard, about to switch from left guard to center, had some relief. He still does.
Asked earlier this week if Woods remains the backup center, OU coach Bob Stoops replied: "Absolutely. He is. He and Nila both can do it, but Austin has looked good."
Nila Kasatati is expected to return to practice soon after undergoing a heart procedure. The fourth man in the mix is true freshman Ty Darlington. He is someone Habern raved about at Big 12 Media Days last month, before Habern's decision became official.
News and notes
Wort hurting: Middle linebacker Tom Wort has fought injuries since tearing a knee ligament in his first OU preseason camp. He's still fighting.
"He's got a back, he's got an ankle, he's got a shoulder," linebackers coach Tim Kish said. "It's not anything surgery-wise; it's just stuff that's got to heal. And it's tough to heal when you're going through camp. But he's got to play."
OU coaches are typically very careful with battle-scarred upperclassmen. Wort is no exception.
"He's not 100 percent healthy, but we can't use that as an excuse for him," Kish said. "We're trying to balance that and manage that for him. It's like the pitcher for the Nationals (Stephen Strasburg). You're only going to give him so many innings."
Freshman defensive ends to play?: Coaches continue to rave about freshman defensive ends Charles Tapper and Mike Onuoha. It's gotten to the point that position coach Bobby Jack Wright predicts they could play this season.
"Well, I hope so," Wright said. "I'd like to play them, absolutely. They're big, strong, good-looking guys. Physically, they're ready to play. If I can manage to get them really in tuned to three or four calls where they can execute without having to stand around thinking, where they can play fast, they can help us this year."
Danzel now on D: After redshirt freshman Danzel Williams had some nice moments last spring, it appeared he was in position to challenge for carries at running back.
Camp rolled around, however, and Williams found himself on the defensive side of the ball.
"We're looking at him at a safety position," Stoops said. "He has a chance there. You'd be amazed when you move kids around sometimes how all of a sudden something looks really good. It's like when we moved Andre Woolfolk from receiver to corner and he became a first-round draft pick. He probably wouldn't have been drafted as a receiver."
Opponent watch: TCU
The Sooners aren't exactly having a peaceful preseason. Compared to what's happened at TCU this year, however, it really isn't so bad.
The latest piece of troubling news out of Fort Worth isn't as big as a drug scandal, but it won't help the Horned Frogs any. James Dunbar, expected to start at right tackle, is out with academic issues, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Dunbar missed half of the 2011 season because of academic problems.
Thursday: Mini scrimmage
Aug. 14: Mini scrimmage
Aug. 16: Scrimmage
Aug. 20: First day of class
Sept. 1: Season opener, OU at UTEP, 9:30 p.m.
Note: All practice sessions and scrimmages are closed to the public.
Sept. 1: at UTEP (FSOK) 9:30 p.m.
Sept. 8: vs. Fla. A&M 6 p.m.
Sept. 22: vs. Kansas St. TBD
Oct. 6: at Texas Tech TBD
Oct. 13: vs. Texas (at Dallas) TBD
Oct. 20: vs. Kansas TBD
Oct. 27: vs. Notre Dame TBD
Nov. 3: at Iowa State TBD
Nov. 10: vs. Baylor TBD
Nov. 17: at West Virginia TBD
Nov. 24: vs. OSU TBD
Dec. 1: at TCU TBD