Sooners release spring football schedule


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Feb 27, 2018
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Oklahoma will open its spring football season with a March 7 practice in Norman.

It will be the third spring session under head coach Lincoln Riley.

Storylines abound on all three phases of the football.

How will quarterback Jalen Hurts become acclimated with Riley’s offense during 15 practice sessions? How important is it for defensive coordinator Alex Grinch not to waste a day as he installs his style with players? Who is going to take over for kicker/punter Austin Seibert?

Also coming to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium...

NORMAN – Oklahoma football fans will enjoy improved wireless access during games as well as more room in seats and aisles.

The stadium upgrades are part of the $14.9 million plan approved by OU Board of Regents during an October 2018 meeting.

"Our stadium is one of the great venues in the history of college football, but it needs upgrades, too," OU director of athletics Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "Among the improvements underway is a first-rate technological experience. We recognize that connectivity is an important piece of the fan experience. We're also exploring ways to use the wireless access to further engage our fans in nearly every aspect of game attendance."

OU is working with AT&T in making the wireless addition. The school announced that the new system will be Wi-Fi 6, the latest version of technology. There will be 750 access points added to the 245 that exist in the south end zone.
Spring football updates...

Jalen Hurts meets with local media for the first time

Jalen Hurts on having 5 OCs in 5 years: I've had success with every coordinator or coach that I had. I have multiple perspectives of the game because I've had so many coaches. I use it to help me.

Linebacker DaShaun White looking to make strides under new coordinator

White saw limited action during the 2018 season. The 6-foot, 221-pounder appeared in all 14 games, primarily on special teams, and finished with 13 tackles.

How important was his initial season?

“Last year was really big,” White said. “I learned a lot from K9 (Kenneth Murray), I learned a lot from (former linebackers coach Tim) Kish. Just being in that role, I got a lot of reps last year. I’m definitely happy about that. I’m taking those things into this year and I’m ready to go.”

Sooners back on practice field after lengthy break

The Oklahoma Sooners returned to the practice field for the first time in 12 days Tuesday in Norman. Spring break isn’t ideal when trying to rebuild a defense through a daily regimen.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said there was a plan to combat the potential lull.

“We didn’t ease back into this thing. It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s see how easy we can make practice No. 5 the Tuesday after spring break.’ We made it, quite frankly, as hard as we possibly could,” he said. “Some guys responded and some guys didn’t know they could respond and found a way to be upright at the end of practice, and other guys made some plays out there. In any event, we’ll evaluate the tape and keep working.”
So far, I like what I have read about Coach Grinch.

He seems like a Tom Izzo type of coach. :D
It's been awhile since I gave a spring football update, so here goes; headlines and excerpts of each...

OU football notebook: Tulsa native LaRon Stokes' strong spring catching eyes of coaching staff

Plenty of attention has been directed at Oklahoma’s newcomers on offensive this spring.

One player who has grabbed the attention of coaches is defensive end LaRon Stokes, a Tulsa NOAH graduate and junior college transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

“Of all the newcomers, he’s been one of the most impressive ones up to this point,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said Wednesday following practice. “He’s a quick study. I’m really glad we trusted our evaluation on him. He wasn’t a guy who was a big name in recruiting circles. He does a lot of great things.”

OU football: Was Charleston Rambo's turning point at the Orange Bowl? Or was it a dropped TD pass vs. Kansas State?

NORMAN — Charleston Rambo introduced himself to the college football world on a big stage last season.

Oklahoma’s sophomore wide receiver only had five receptions heading into the Orange Bowl against Alabama. He replaced injured Marquise Brown and ended with three receptions for 74 yards against the Crimson Tide, including a 49-yard touchdown grab from Kyler Murray in the third quarter.

Rambo’s career has been a test of patience. He redshirted the 2017 season and appeared in only three regular-season games last year before playing against Texas (Big 12 championship) and Alabama (College Football Playoff semifinal) following Brown’s injury.

“It boosted my confidence, but I’m not going to let that get ahead of me like I’m that guy,” Rambo said. “Just put that into the past and build for the future.”

OU football: Two defensive decommitments just part of Sooners' transition to Alex Grinch's recruiting plan

Alex Grinch is building the future of the Oklahoma defense to his liking.

That’s understandable. It’s common sense. The Sooners’ new defensive coordinator has a plan in place.

There have been decommitments from high-level cornerbacks Darion Green-Warren and Jalen Huff in the past month. Some recruits with OU offers when Grinch arrived now understand that they won’t fit the new system.

“What you can’t do is you when you take a job in a new organization and bring in a new staff and then say you are married to certain individuals," Grinch said. "You are going to look at certain guys that fit the profile that we’re looking for. It’s responsible on our end to do that and it’s also responsible for the student-athlete that we’re recruiting.

"He doesn’t want to come to a package that doesn’t fit him, especially so early in the process.”

OU football: Offensive line rebuild doesn't drop Bill Bedenbaugh's high expectations

NORMAN — When Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh returned home from the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30, he wasn’t thinking about the group he’d molded into one of college football’s best units in 2018.

He was thinking about the next group. By then, he already knew that would mean two tackles and two guards would make their first career starts when the Sooners open the 2019 season Aug. 31 against Houston. The engine of the offensive machine that powered the Sooners to a quartet of Big 12 championships, three College Football Playoff berths and two Heisman Trophies requires new parts that don’t come directly from the factory. They all have to be precisely molded.

“You’re always thinking about that part of it,” Bedenbaugh said.

OU football notebook: Defensive coordinator not pleased after private scrimmage

Oklahoma conducted a football scrimmage Monday in Norman that served as a the mid-spring exam. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch didn’t mask his disappointment with his unit’s performance.

“It was up and down. There’s always good plays and bad plays. We could have this same conversation every time we talk,” Grinch said. “I felt from a performance standpoint there were too many plays that were ugly today. Overall, I would say that I was disappointed in the overall performance by the bulk of the guys. If it were a great day, I would probably say I was disappointed by the performance of several guys. It’s where we’re at seven practices into this thing.”

OU football: 'Special quartet' laying foundation for early impact as offensive playmakers

NORMAN — There’s been plenty of attention on Oklahoma’s five-star wide receivers Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease during spring football drills.

Coach Lincoln Riley — who hauled in the trio with a strong recruiting pitch focused on his innovative attack — won’t let OU fans forget Austin Stogner, who he labels as the country’s most highly recruited tight end.

“Physically, all of them are good enough to play and be able to help you soon,” Riley said. “We thought they would be and they are. Mentally, how do they continue to prepare? How do they handle their bodies. How do they handle all the transitions? There’s still a lot of question marks out there on these guys.

“But there’s no doubt the capability is there. You like what we’ve seen from them thus far. If they can improve at a steady rate, they can be a special quartet of guys there.”
As noted in another thread, the Spring game is now 7:30 p.m. Friday instead of Saturday afternoon. Here's a few more updates on spring ball...

Linebacker Caleb Kelly will undergo surgery in the coming days. The senior suffered a lower leg injury last week. Using this year as a redshirt season is a possibility.

“It’s not a minor injury and so the positive is, he’s a tremendous worker. He’s gonna do everything right. He’s a fast healer,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “So he’s got a lot of opportunities with it happening this early. There are possibilities to come back, there are possibilities with all of them now that have redshirts available with the four-game deal and so that could potentially come into play here. So we’ll see how it goes. He’s the right kinda guy to get through this and handle it the right way. I hate it for him. It’s the hardest part about this game, but thankfully he’s got that redshirt year and he’s in a great frame of mind.”

Kelly’s injury moves sophomore linebacker DaShaun White into a possible starting role.

“I think the world of him, not only as a player, but he’s somebody who has been completely bought in for what we’re trying to do. Instinctive,” inside linebackers coach Brian Odom said. “I’m excited for DaShaun’s opportunity to go show what he can do. It’s there for the taking for him.”

Thank you. While I live in the OKC area, I very much enjoy reading the TW articles you link on this message board. Boomer!
Thank you. While I live in the OKC area, I very much enjoy reading the TW articles you link on this message board. Boomer!

Thanks for the kind words!

Since Spring game is tonight, here's some pregame coverage...

OU football spring game on Friday: 3 players to know, storylines to watch, helpful tips for fans

Welcome, Jalen Hurts

Much is expected of the Alabama transfer quarterback, by both OU fans and nationally, where some oddsmakers already have given Hurts the third-best odds to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy. There’s a lot of football to be played before even thinking about a New York City trip in December. The key on Friday is to be effective and manage the offense.

Getting to be a Grinch on defense

Alex Grinch will never be satisfied with his defense. Even before we see him patrolling the sideline in a spring game or a regular-season game, let’s get that straight. It’s not that he has unrealistic goals; it’s just that he has said often during spring interviews that he wants his defense to seek improvement each time it takes the field. The foundation will be set with Friday’s game.

It’ll just be a taste

There won’t be a full game played Friday, just two 20-minute halves. But that will be plenty of time to see the quarterbacks in action, as well as the five-star freshman wide receivers. While there will be a lot of pageantry involved, the primary goal is to get out of the game without injury and also put on a good show for the multiple high-profile recruits making official visits this weekend.

OU football: Rosters, honorary coaches announced for Friday night's spring football game

Oklahoma will have star power as honorary head coaches for Friday night’s spring football game.

Head coach Lincoln Riley announced the Red tem will be led by NFL offensive linemen Orlando Brown and Lane Johnson, Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and OU legend Joe Washington.

The White team will be guided by 2003 Lombardi Award winner Tommie Harris, 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims and NFL wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

OU football: With Caleb Kelly out, what happens next? We ask inside linebackers coach Brian Odom

NORMAN — So what happens next at weakside linebacker for Oklahoma?

The news of Caleb Kelly’s injury was a crushing blow to a defense that now lacks an on-the-field leader and the fourth-leading tackler in 2018. Kelly will have surgery for his OU-described “lower-body injury” as the Sooners begin looking for answers just days before Friday night’s spring game.

“We talk about it all the time — how do you respond to adversity? How does he, individually, respond to this adversity? How does he go attack it over the next few months? How does that room step up and take up the slack? What opportunities that gives to other people to step up to do their job?” OU inside linebackers coach Brian Odom said. “We all look at it as an opportunity instead of a setback. For some way, shape or form, it’s going to work out in a good way for Caleb. In some way, shape or form, it’s going to work out for our room.”

OU football notebook: To new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, defense is a play-to-play stress test that you either pass or fail

As Oklahoma’s spring winds down, a pressing topic from now until the Sooners take the field in the fall is the defense. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch faces questions about progress every time he enters the interview room at Memorial Stadium.

He rarely gives a definitive answer on whether headway is being made. To him, defense is a play-to-play stress test that you either pass or fail. OU’s defenders are being put in compromising positions this spring just to see how they react.

“We've pressed corners, for instance, all spring — just to make it hard on them,” Grinch said. “Are we gonna press corners? No, that's not the point. But the point is, let's not put them necessarily in a situation that they can have their minds at ease or put them in a situation that it's easier to keep the ball in front of you. That's stressing.”
Watch: Baker Mayfield teams up with Billy Sims and Barry Switzer for a touchdown run