OU spring practice report: Days 4-7
Oklahoma Sooner players and coaches met with reporters for the first time since Saturday’s intrasquad 90-play scrimmage, which was closed to the media and to the public.
Among the highlights:
Running back Jermie Calhoun rushed for 3 TDs. A pair of 1-yarders and a 20-yard scamper.
“I think I dragged one of our players a couple times,” Calhoun said. “It was a good day for me.”
Calhoun’s teammates and coaches were impressed with the sophomore running back’s performance.
Said QB Landry Jones: “We ran the ball really well. Jermie and Mossis Madu really ran the ball well.”
Said tight end Trent Ratterree: “Jermie is running really physical.”
Said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson: “Nice to see Jermie run with power, good pad level. He had some nice runs.”
* Tight end James Hanna and WR Jaz Reynolds both added big plays. Hanna took a quick out route, broke a tackle, and raced about 65 yards for a TD. With one hand, Reynolds caught a tipped pass for a long TD reception.
* OU’s two trouble spots last season, WR and OL, had nice scrimmages. The Sooners dropped 3 of the first 4 passes from the scrimmage, but caught everything in sight after that. The line, meanwhile, more than held its own against OU’s defensive front, as the offense was able to grind out rushing yards throughout the day.
“The line did pretty good,” coach Bob Stoops said. “They’re doing a good job. Competing hard.”
Other notes from Tuesday’s practice:
* Slot receiver Ryan Broyles has been dealing with a slight hamstring pull, which kept him out of the scrimmage. He practiced some Tuesday.
* Wilson admitted he’s toying with the idea of playing 6-foot-5 wideout Dejuan Miller in the flex some, similar to what OU did with Jermaine Gresham two years ago. That season, Gresham was deadly in the red zone thanks to his combination of size and speed. Wilson envisions Miller also creating matchup problems. But first, Wilson has to figure out this spring if Miller can handle the scheme, blocking and technique differences of playing inside.
* Running back DeMarco Murray, who is not taking part in live drills during the spring, has been trying out yoga to help improve his flexibility and and maybe help keep him from tearing or straining muscles. He said the idea came from his dad.
“I’m not very flexible,” he said. “It’s to get me stretched out, keep my hamstring and things loose and not tight. And I’ve heard it helps prevent a lot of injuries, especially from running backs.”
Murray said he’s making gains this off-season unlike the last two, when he’s been coming off serious injuries. As a freshman, he dislocated a kneecap. As a sophomore, tore his quad. While he dealt with a sprained ankle last year, Murray said he’s healthy and looking forward to increasing his speed and strength during the next four months.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I think that’s really going to help me.”
* True freshman Kenny Stills continues to make noise this spring, and could join the WR rotation as early as this fall.
“He’s showing some flash and some savviness,” Wilson said.
Stills is currently working at wideout, but could over time eventually play some in the slot.
* Ratterree continues to be the frontrunner in the 3-headed tight end competition. Hanna has the most athleticism and big-play ability, exemplified by his TD catch in the scrimmage.
6-foot-7, 265-pound Lane Johnson is the biggest of the three tight ends. But the converted QB is still learning the position and could be a year away from significantly contributing.
“For Lane, it’s coming in short glitches,” Wilson said.
That leaves Ratterree, who remains the most consistent TE on the roster.
* Center Ben Habern returned to practice this week. Habern is coming off a broken fibula. For now, Brian Lepak will man the starting role at center, backed up by freshman Gabe Ikard. Look for Habern to resume his spot atop the depth chart as he works back into form.
* The starting secondary continues to be Demontre Hurst and Jamell Fleming at CB, and Quinton Carter and Jonathan Nelson at safety.
* Boise State coach Chris Petersen visited Tuesday’s practice. Former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt has also been in Norman. Leavitt and Stoops go back to their days as co-defensive coordinators at Kansas State under Bill Snyder in the 1990s.
Follow Jake Trotter on Twitter: @Jake_Trotter.
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