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Oklahoma football: Open practice lets students get up close and personal with the Sooners

More than 200 students took advantage of the open practice, Oklahoma’s first in several years. During the open period, which lasted about 45 minutes, the Sooners went through a scrimmage.
by Ryan Aber Published: April 10, 2014

/articleid/3954047/1/pictures/2414804">Photo - Oklahoma's Trevor Knight and coach Bob Stoops celebrate the 45-31 win over Alabama during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.  .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight and coach Bob Stoops celebrate the 45-31 win over Alabama during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s basketball team under Lon Kruger has done something similar in recent years, taking a team picture after the alumni game each fall.

Kruger’s practices are also open to fans and media.

While Stoops doesn’t figure to be as open as Kruger, he did say when he announced the practice that he wanted the students to be able to get closer to the players.

“I think it’s just giving them more opportunity to participate with our students that are athletes and be around them after practice,” Stoops said.

Stoops also wore a microphone for a few minutes during the practice, first thanking the students for coming, then keeping it on for a few plays during the scrimmage before handing the mic off to Hatari Byrd and Dominique Alexander.

“It’s good to get them out here,” Alexander said. “It was fun to give them the chance to come see us.”

Afterward, students mingled with the players while several threw footballs into a target net and others tried to kick footballs through the uprights at Owen Field.

Students were also given the opportunity to take a photo with the trophy.

“My best friend and I went to the game and that was quite the experience,” said 21-year-old Olivia Osterlund of Midland, Texas, after taking a picture with the trophy. “But just being around the football players — it was a beautiful day outside — it was just a wonderful day.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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