OU Spring Game April 12

Oklahoma linebacker Bryan Mead attempts to tackle Trejan Bridges (right) during the Sooners’ spring game Friday night. “The guy brings it every time we’re out there,” linebackers coach Brian Odom said. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World


Odom has praise for Bryan Mead

Former Rejoice Christian standout linebacker Bryan Mead has become a favorite of linebackers coach Brian Odom.

“The guy brings it every time we’re out there. He’s a relentless competitor. He doesn’t accept anything average. I respect the hell out of Bryan Mead,” Odom said about the fourth-year junior. “He’s gonna turn some heads this year. I firmly believe that.

“Those other guys in the room need to take his approach. He’s a great role model for everybody in there.”

Mead is fighting on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Brian Asamoah and sophomore Levi Draper (of Collinsville) for the second-team spots behind Kenneth Murray and sophomore DaShaun White.

Spring drills come to an end

Spring football practice ended for Oklahoma late Tuesday afternoon. Putting the 15 practices and Friday’s spring game in the past tense wasn’t something the coaching staff was ready to do. To a man, they all said it’s just one step in a continuous process.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch did heap praise on the defensive line for overcoming some depth issues due to injuries and transfers.

“At worst, we probably get into survival mode, but at our best, I see some disruption and guys buying into the things we’re asking them to do,” he said.

The one player who seemed to take the most advantage of the past six weeks was defensive end LaRon Stokes, a junior college transfer.

“Got a little hamstring midway through, kinda slowed him down, maybe didn’t finish maybe as explosively as he started the spring, but thrilled with him,” Grinch said.

He added that sophomore linebacker Ronnie Perkins and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore showed some explosiveness.

“If I was gonna highlight one group, I probably would. Is it where it needs to be overall from a numbers standpoint or just an overall dynamic standpoint ... we’ve gotta add pieces but been very pleased with their progress,” Grinch said.

Redmond’s status still unclear

One of the significant unknowns heading into the season is the status of defensive end Jalen Redmond. The former five-star recruit from Midwest City redshirted last season and missed spring practice because of blood clots.

“We’ll find out, hopefully fairly shortly, in terms of what the next step is,” Grinch said. “I can tell you everything sounds positive and stuff like that, but ultimately those are medical decisions. I’m excited that he’s able to do a lot of stuff, run around, and you see a big body that can move. Everybody needs those type of guys.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to get him back at some point, but kind of a wait and see right now.”

Swenson moves up depth chart

Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh hasn’t officially set a depth chart. But if the Sooners had to play this week, junior Erik Swenson would be the starting left tackle.

“He’s probably had one of the better springs of the guys. He’s a much better player than he ever has been, and that’s good to see him stepping up,” Bedenbaugh said.

The left tackle spot will be interesting because the past two individuals to man it were highly decorated. Orlando Brown was a three-year starter and a consensus All-American in 2017. In his one season as a starter last year, Cody Ford developed into a likely first-round NFL draft pick.

Follow Humphrey’s lead

Center Creed Humphrey missed spring practice because of hand surgery, but Bedenbaugh left no doubt who he expects to lead his group. Humphrey, who is the unit’s lone returning starter, has to be the guy.

“I think on the field he’s really good. When he’s out on the field and he’s helping coach and getting people fired up and when things aren’t going well, he’ll get on people. It’s got to carry to off the field,” Bedenbaugh said. “To me that’s more important, being a leader off the field and getting these guys together on their own. That’s what the previous groups have done so well, whether it was individually or two or three guys watching tape together or the whole offensive line doing it. That’s what you have to do. … They have got to be motivated to do things on their own to do things off the field. That’s where I think he has to come in. We’re so young. He’s the guy that’s done it, was on the field with previous groups. He’s got to be the guy that leads all the time, not just when we’re on the field but when we go away from here. That’s where he needs to improve.

— John Shinn, for the Tulsa World

Eric Bailey

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eric.bailey@tulsaworld.com

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