If it weren’t for a fumbling issue last year, Keith Ford might be looked upon as the most likely candidate to become the Sooners’ top running back this season.
But those ball security issues limited Ford’s play in the second half of last season.
“Coach (Cale) Gundy constantly talks about ball security and everybody knows that,” Ford said. “I just have to worry about it myself and do the little things to make sure the ball is secure. Everybody had to do the same things, and we all work on it and we all try to improve on ball security.”
The transition to the college game, as it relates to holding onto the ball, was difficult for Ford.
“In high school, everybody isn’t trying to go for the ball,” Ford said. “At this level, everyone is trying to strip because everyone is trying to create turnovers.
“The transition from high school to college is a very big step. Speaking as a guy who went through it last year, it’s a big transition.”
THOMAS HIGH ON PARKER
Sophomore Ahmad Thomas has liked what he’s seen of freshman safety Steven Parker so far.
“He’s a fast guy,” Thomas said. “A good cover guy. And he’ll come down and hit someone.”
As a freshman last year, Thomas earned some playing time in the secondary and spent plenty of time on special teams.
His adjustment, he said, was quick. He expects the same out of Parker.
“For me, when I came in at first it was the range and the speed was different,” Thomas said. “That’s all. He’s just got to get used to covering faster guys, bigger guys. That’s it.”
NEAL BECOMING A BETTER BLOCKER
Junior receiver Durron Neal said he’s worked on improving his blocking since last season.
“It’s one of those small things,” Neal said. “In our meeting room we’ve got hustle blocks on the wall. That’s one of the things that coach Jay (Norvell) and our offense strive on, making that extra block like the Kenny (Stills) block in the Texas game with Damien (Williams). Those are the blocks that spring a 15-yard run to a touchdown. That’s something that we pride ourselves in as receivers, doing the little things.
“If you keep blocking the corner every single time, eventually he’s goign to wear out and that’s when you hit him with the big play.”