CASTIGLIONE: MORE FACILITIES UPGRADES ON THE WAY
Sooners football coach Bob Stoops said earlier this week that the improvements to facilities at OU would continue.
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione hinted at some of those improvements at Wednesday's Sooner Caravan stop at the Cox Convention Center.
Castiglione didn't give any specifics about upgrading Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium but said improvements were on the way.
“We're thinking of ways to make it better,” Castiglione said. “We just haven't announced it yet.”
Castiglione also spoke of the study, announced in May, of potential upgrades to Lloyd Noble Center.
“We're looking at everything from the facilities that serve out student-athletes to something as radical as changing the seating bowl at Lloyd Noble Center,” Castiglione said. “That building's about to be 40 years old.”
IKARD, IRWIN LIKE BEDENBAUGH
Oklahoma senior offensive linemen Gabe Ikard and Bronson Irwin represented the Sooners' football team at Wednesday's caravan event.
During a question-and-answer session with master of ceremonies Toby Rowland, the duo was asked about their new position coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
“Coach Bedenbaugh brings a real sense of physical presence,” Irwin said. “He's really pushed us to be more physical up front.”
Then Ikard chimed in; “He also let us get a lot fatter, which was fun,” the center quipped.
Ikard said at Big 12 Media Days last week that Bedenbaugh has encouraged weight gain, and that he weighed over 300 pounds for the first time this summer.
HIELD TO MISS EUROPEAN TRIP
Earlier this week, Sooners sophomore guard Buddy Hield aggravated a foot injury he suffered last season and will miss the team's upcoming trip to France and Belgium.
"It's more of a precaution than anything else," Sooners basketball coach Lon Kruger said Wednesday night. "It's about making sure he's healthy in the long run."
As a freshman last season, Hield averaged 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in helping the team make the NCAA Tournament.
He broke his foot against TCU in February and had a screw inserted to stabilize the injury.
Hield's absence figures to open up minutes on the trip for a pair of freshman guards — Frank Booker and Jordan Woodard.
Sophomore Ryan Spangler, who was at Wednesday's event, spoke highly of the duo.
“I think the biggest part for us will be chemistry,” Spangler said. “We're a young team and playing five games and having the extra practice time is important for us.”
Hield will still travel with the team on the trip, which begins Tuesday.
EXPERIENCE IN RUSSIA ‘EXTRAORDINARY' FOR COALE, ELLENBERG
Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale led Team USA to a gold-medal finish in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, in mid-July.
OU senior guard Aaryn Ellenberg played on the team, averaging 9.2 points per game for the tournament.
“The experience was extraordinary, especially after we won,” Coale said Wednesday. “It was really pressure packed until then, and then it was exhilarating.”
Coale said she expects Ellenberg's experience will make her 2013-14 Sooners team better, and also prepare the 5-foot-7 guard for professional basketball.
“She may have gotten a taste of what it's going to be like at the next level,” Coale said. “The people that we played against — particularly the Russians and the Australians — a lot of size everywhere.”
KRUGER EXCITED FOR HEADINGTON OPENING
While Kruger said he was happy his players are able to move into Headington Hall now, the biggest impact will start to be felt over the next few months.
“It's fantastic,” Kruger said. “It's as good as anywhere in the country.
“We'll sure use that in recruiting very strongly.”
The new $75 million privately funded housing center opened Sunday. In addition to housing, it holds a game room, media lounge, study rooms, a 75-seat theater and the Sam Bradford Training Table.
Headington Hall will house 380 students with 49 percent being Sooners athletes.
Stoops said that he will require players to spend their first two seasons at the facility located at Jenkins Avenue and Lindsey Street.
COALE EXCITED ABOUT NEWCOMERS
Coale said her team's newcomers have been impressive in the limited time she's spent with them this summer.
The Sooners added freshmen guards Gioya Carter (Carl Albert), T'ona Edwards (Northeast) and Derica Wyatt (Brentwood, Tenn.), along with forwards Felisha Gibbs (Earle, Ark.) and Shaya Kellogg (Ames, Iowa).
“I love the new kids,” Coale said. “I'm a little bit envious of my staff because they've gotten to be around them a little bit more than I have this summer.
“I was proud of their competitiveness, their ability to score, how quickly they have learned through the individual workouts this summer.”
BY RYAN ABER AND JASON KERSEY