Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops began his talks with the media this preseason with a positive attitude and a lot of excitement about his 2012 squad.
Despite the injuries and the suspensions on both sides of the ball, Stoops smiled when talking about the addition of Penn State transfer Justin Brown or the other newcomers to his receiving corps. He's been impressed with defensive ends Charles Tapper and Michael Onuoha coming in, as well as R.J. Washington and David King stepping up on the defensive line.
Stoops started a recent session just naming all the good things about different players before stopping and saying, “Well, you guys know who you want to talk about, so ask away.”
Stoops told the media this week that he has been enthusiastic about the team's preseason.
“I just think the guys are working well,” the 14th-year coach said. “They have had a good attitude. We have had a few nicks, but you know that is going to happen. So overall, it has been good.”
Stoops is expected to name the 2012 team captains soon, and senior cornerback Demontre Hurst described the “honor” and “blessing” it would be if he were chosen.
“It's something that I can establish myself as being a real captain and being a real leader,” Hurst said. “For them guys to even vote for me for captain is a big thing for me, just to see that I have good leadership skills and I'm capable of doing the right things.
“Hopefully I can be captain and represent this team.”
The way Hurst spoke Friday, it sounded as if he expected the honor.
“Being a leader, you want to be captain,” Hurst laughed. “You put yourself in that driver seat to feel that you are the captain, whether you are or not.”
BIG PRAISE FOR O-LINE FROM KING
David King, a senior starter on the defensive line, said he isn't worried about the Sooners' offensive line because he's personally seen — and felt — how well they're practicing.
“I think Gabe Ikard's doing a good job leading those guys,” King said. “Bronson Irwin's done a good job of replacing Tyler (Evans).
“We're gonna have one of the better O-lines in the league, if not the country, this year.”
King was slated to start at defensive end, but will shift inside to tackle while senior Stacy McGee serves an indefinite suspension.
OU opens the 2012 season at UTEP in less than two weeks.
“I'm ready to get going,” King said. “I'm tired of banging against my own people.”
SAUNDERS BRINGS A LOT TO SOONERS
Although Oklahoma is still awaiting the NCAA ruling on whether transfer receiver Jalen Saunders will be eligible to play, it isn't stopping him from performing big during preseason and getting noticed.
Defensive back Tony Jefferson said of the receivers, he really likes Saunders for what he adds to the receiving corps.
“He can punt return,” Jefferson said. “His routes just off the line are crazy. He's quick.”
But fans of the No. 4 jersey should know that Kenny Stills is still the fastest receiver that can play.
“He's not faster than Kenny,” Jefferson said of Saunders. “He's quicker.”