DT Adrian Taylor progressing well from broken ankle
Adrian Taylor's broken ankle suffered in the Sun Bowl was so gruesome, CBS wouldn't show replays of the injury.
At the time, some wondered if Taylor's football career was over.
But OU coach Bob Stoops says the senior defensive tackle is progressing well and should be ready for the 2010 season.
"The trainers anticipate him being cleared to practice as soon as we start," Stoops said. "I will be very wise in watching and giving him a little at a time.
"Adrian's played a long time. So I'm not interested in seeing him wear it out in practice. We'll feed it to him very slowly. For instance, two-a-days, I'll only let him practice once. Or even one-a-days may only put him in certain segments of the practice to bring him along.
"But he's progressing well, and they feel he's close to being — he's not quite there yet, but he's close to being back 100 percent. And just watching him, talking to him, walking through the office, he's making good progress and feels good about it."
Taylor's return will be key to a defense replacing Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle. Until Taylor returns, the position will be manned by Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee and Casey Walker, none of whom have ever started a game.
RB DeMarco Murray to see big workload
Throughout his career in Norman, DeMarco Murray has had to share the spotlight at running back. First, with Allen Patrick and Chris Brown. Then, with just Brown.
But this season, count on Murray's workload to increase — perhaps to an Adrian Peterson-like number of touches, Stoops said.
"He's had some bad luck with some odd, different injuries, and I really believe coming into this year, with his experience, his ability to run but to catch the ball out of the backfield, we really anticipate him having a really big year for us," Stoops said. "We're hoping in line or similar to a guy like Adrian Peterson, that kind of opportunity to run the ball or have his hands on the ball that number of times is what we're hoping for.
"We'll see how DeMarco feels through the year. All guys are a little bit different, what they're able to handle. We'll be aware of that. But we anticipate him ... having definitely more carries than he's had and more opportunities of not only carries but catching the ball as well."
Stoops: O-line improved
Whether Murray is able to have an All-Big 12 caliber season depends heavily on the improvement of an offensive line that was erratic and banged up all last season.
But Stoops said he likes what he's seen from the line this off-season and anticipates the unit will be much improved from last year.
"I said earlier I thought our offensive line was going to be much better than people anticipate," Stoops said. "You add Eric Mensik and Gabe Ikard that were two tight ends, big tight ends that are now bigger tight ends, and they're around 290, along with the maturity of the other guys as they've gone through the year. Played last year without Donald Stephenson, who coming into the year was a guy that we felt was similar to Trent Williams in ability, and he's in the picture now.
"So we have a chance to be better."
Freshman Roy Finch looking to impact this season
The competition for carries behind Murray will be tight.
A host of backs, including Mossis Madu, Jermie Calhoun and Jonathan Miller will have their chances.
But Murray singled out incoming freshman Roy Finch as someone who has shined in 7-on-7 drills this summer and someone he expects to impact the Sooner offense this season.
"Roy is real talented," Murray said. "I think he'll play this year. He's picking up a lot."
Finch, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound scatback out of Niceville, Fla., was rated among the top prep running backs in the country last season.
In high school, Finch displayed the ability to play either running back or in the slot as a receiver, a role Murray said Finch could play this season.
"He's real fast, real quick," Murray said. "He'll have a chance to play."
OU-Nebraska continuing series not realistic
Stoops said nothing Wednesday to suggest OU and Nebraska will be able to continue their historic series after the Huskers bolt for the Big Ten in 2011.
One of the reasons is that OU has scheduled out at least one big-time foe every year through 2020.
The Sooners play Florida State and Cincinnati this season. Florida State and TCU await next year. The rest of the decade, OU has a home-and-home series scheduled with Notre Dame, Tennessee, Ohio State and LSU.
Someone asked Stoops if he would consider playing Nebraska. Sure, Stoops said, "if you get rid of Florida State and Cincinnati and Notre Dame and Tennessee, all the other people we're playing. See if you guys can get that done."
No update on Madu
Stoops had little to say about Mossis Madu's recent arrest for driving under the influence. Stoops only noted that he had talked with Madu about the incident, but has not yet determined a punishment.
In the past, Stoops has usually suspended players with DUI arrests for a game.
Travis Lewis, if QB Landry Jones shows up to camp sporting the same chevron-style mustache he did last season: "I will shave it myself if he comes back like that."