Oklahoma starts spring football practices on Saturday, and Sooners coach Bob Stoops said his team has prepared well for the start of workouts.
“Just talking to Jerry Schmidt, out strength coach, and all our coaches that have been working developing our guys through the out-of-season really believe it’s been our best or one of our best years that we’ve had,” Stoops said. “Just the way the players, the gains they’re making, the overall speed, the attitude, the work ethic, all of that.
“It’s really been positive.”
Stoops said that was evidence players weren’t relaxing after the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
“I think more than anything it’s made them hungrier to build on and to keep improving,” he said.
OTHER WAYS TO LIMIT PLAYS, STOOPS SAYS
Stoops was one of the coaches that was vocal in his opposition to a proposed rule that would have barred teams from snapping the ball before 10 seconds had expired from the play clock.
The proposal was withdrawn without a vote from the NCAA’s playing rule oversight panel.
Stoops once again equated the rule, which would’ve been suspended in the final two minutes of a half, to targeting.
“If anything can be done the last two minutes of the half, why can’t you do it the rest of the game?” Stoops said. “They won’t allow targeting in the last two minutes of the half. So if you can do it then you can do it anytime.”
Stoops said he wouldn’t be opposed to other ways to cutting down plays.
“If they want to shorten the game, make it like the NFL clock,” Stoops said. “That’s what the NFL does to manage plays to fit their game into a window that fits TV, but I don’t see them changing the pace of play in regard to how they play.
“That’s part of football and always has been. I don’t see why that would ever change.”
BOSWORTH, HUGHES ON HALL BALLOT
Former Oklahoma football players Brian Bosworth and Randy Hughes are among the 75 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision listed on the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, released Thursday by the National Football Foundation.
Both were on the ballot last year, when former Sooner Rod Shoate was inducted.
The announcement of this year’s class will be made in May and inductions will take place at the 57th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 in New York.
To be eligible, players must have been named a first-team All-American, played their last season of college football 10 years prior, played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football.
Bosworth remains the only two-time recipient of the Butkus Award, presented annually to college football’s best linebacker. He won the first two awards in 1985 and 1986.
Bosworth led Oklahoma in tackles for three straight seasons from 1984-86.
He was selected first overall in the 1987 NFL supplemental draft and spent just more than two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
Hughes was a defensive back on Oklahoma’s 1974 national championship team; that season, he was an All-American selection and finished his career with 14 interceptions.
Twenty former Oklahoma players have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Five former Sooner coaches have been inducted.
A pair of state players are on the NAIA portion of the ballot — former UCO quarterback Randy Page, who led the Bronchos to the 1982 NAIA national championship, and former Cameron defensive back Mark Cotney, who had 132 career tackles and seven interceptions and earned All-America honors in 1974.
FOUR OUT FOR SPRING
Four players — offensive linemen Tyrus Thompson and Adam Shead, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and nickelback Julian Wilson — will miss spring football with various injuries.
Shead missed the final two games of the regular season and the Sugar Bowl, and Thompson was hurt late in the win at Kansas State and missed Bedlam and the bowl.
Phillips needed back surgery in mid-October.
Wilson had shoulder surgery after the season.
“All of these guys have played a lot of football, and they’re all expected to be healed up to begin the summer work, which will be important to have them ready for two-a-days,” Stoops said.
STOOPS UNDERSTANDS SPRING GAME DILEMMA
Stoops was asked, indirectly at least, about Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s decision to forgo a spring game in favor of an open practice.
“At the end of the day, there are a lot of reasons why you can’t or you don’t,” Stoops said. “I’d love to have a draft and have my guys go on each side of the ball. We don’t have enough players to do it. We don’t have enough linemen that are healthy. We’ve have to have guys taking five minutes to change jerseys.”
He said he’d considered it for his team several times.
“Sometimes you may have so many injuries or thin and you can’t afford to have the spring game and get somebody hurt,” Stoops said.
The Sooners will hold their spring game at 2 p.m. April 12.