A year ago, running back Keith Ford made a splash in the first few days of practice when he ran over Jordan Phillips during the Oklahoma drill.
Monday, the Sooners went back through the annual rite of preseason practices.
This time, it was tight end Blake Bell who made the biggest impression during the drill, pushing back linebacker Geneo Grissom to one side while running back David Smith easily ran on the back side of the block.
Bell didn’t address the media Monday but Ford did.
Ford said he didn’t go head-to-head with Phillips on Monday.
“I had my line, and we each had our stations,” Ford said. “I just focused on me.”
Phillips wound up being one of the Sooners’ top defensive linemen last season before being injured midway through the season.
Phillips and several other players coming off injuries, including offensive lineman Tyler Evans, sat out the drill.
“I’m smarter than that,” Evans said. “I’ve got to keep my body (healthy).”
SOONERS LOSE COMMIT
Three-star defensive back Jamile Johnson announced Monday that he had decommitted from Oklahoma.
Johnson committed to the Sooners in February, one of the first commits for the 2015 class.
Not long after Johnson announced his decision on Twitter, he went further.
“I was just tired of pretending to be happy,” Johnson tweeted.
The Dallas South Oak Cliff product is the No. 41 cornerback in the nation, according to Rivals.com.
With the loss of Johnson, Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson’s P.J. Mbanasor is the Sooners’ only defensive back commit.
BROWN SPEAKS TO SOONERS
Heisman Trophy winner and nine-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tim Brown spoke to the Sooners on Sunday night.
Sooners wide receiver Durron Neal was an interested listener.
Sooners co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell gave Neal film of several high-profile wide receivers to study over the offseason.
One of them was Brown.
“Tim Brown talked to us about, nowadays guys use their athletic ability more than they actual use the mental part of the game,” Neal said. “Watching film, knowing guy’s tendencies, knowing what he’s going to do before the play even happens whether it’s a corner than likes to jab with his left all the time, constantly seeing those things.”
Norvell was the Oakland tight ends coach for Brown’s final two seasons with the Raiders in 2002-03.
RESPONSIBILITY FINDS DARLINGTON
Junior center Ty Darlington is in line to become the Sooners’ starter at the position after the departure of Gabe Ikard to graduation.
Like Ikard did, Darlington is also taking on plenty of leadership roles both on the football team and elsewhere on campus.
Monday, when Darlington referenced the new NCAA deregulation that allows athletes to be provided unlimited meals and snacks, he mentioned it by its number — 32B.
How did he know that?
“I’m on SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) so I have to talk to people about that and everything,” Darlington said. “I have to read up on that. I’ve gotta get some feedback from my peers and pass it up the chain.”
Darlington said he asked to join the SAAC after getting to know other athletes who served.
OU sent him to a Big 12 Conference event in Dallas for SAAC members from all schools, and he was elected vice-chair for the conference.
Darlington serves on an autonomous issues group for the Big 12. He is the student-athlete representative in the group, which features athletic directors and conference personnel.