OU practice report: Aug. 9
The Sooners went full pads for the first time, and it didn’t take long for head-hunter Ronnell Lewis to make others feel his presence in 1-on-1 drills.
“The biggest hit of the day? Man, Ronnell, The Hammer, as usual, laying people out. He hit little Roy Finch,” said running back Jonathan Miller. “I felt bad for him. Ronnell is every bit of a man. We do what we can when we go against Ronnell. But he’s like a freight train.
Lewis is 6-2, 240. Finch is 5-8, 180.
* Speaking of Miller, much has been made about Finch and OU’s other blue-chip tailback Brennan Clay.
But don’t forget about Miller. Last season as a true freshman, he tore his meniscus while blocking on a kickoff return against Texas A&M last season.
But now, he says he’s 100 percent.
Miller was impressive last season in spot time, averaging 7.2 yards per carry before the injury.
“The few carries I did get inspired me to get where I was before the knee,” Miller said.
Miller is part of a compelling five-man competition for carries behind starter DeMarco Murray.
Miller is battling with Finch, Clay, Jermie Calhoun and senior Mossis Madu.
“Competition makes everyone better,” said RB coach Cale Gundy. “Definitely the depth I have is pushing everybody.”
* The Sooners have made some tweaks on special teams. Tress Way is focused solely on punting and is no longer part of the competition at place-kicker. Right now, Pat O’Hara, Jimmy Stevens, Bryce Easley and walk-on Michael Hunnicutt are competing to be the place-kicker, and according to Bob Stoops, that competition is wide open. Based on last season, O’Hara has the edge, but the job is not his yet.
“It’s gonna be, who can be the most consistent,” Stoops said.
Last year’s kickoff specialist, Matthew Moreland, is not with the team while he deals with an academic issue.
The Sooners are hopeful to get him back before the season opener, but planning to be without him. If that’s the case, either Way or Hunnicutt will handle kickoffs.
Finally, OU has gotten a pleasant surprise at holder in the form of Southmoore walk-on Nyko Symonds. Way noted Symonds is as good at holding as Carter Whitson was. Symonds or Nimmo will handle the holds, while James Winchester will do the snapping.
“The snaps and holds right now are excellent,” Stoops said.
* Who will be joining Ryan Broyles on kickoff returns? That remains a fluid situation. DeMarco Murray said he wants to return kickoffs today, but hasn’t been told he will. Murray has twice been knocked out for the season on special teams, and the Sooners want to be careful not to expose him to another injury. Finch and Clay will be given shots to show they can do it. Jonathan Nelson, Demontre Hurst and Kenny Stills are capable, too.
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