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Oklahoma football: Spring practices vital for potential impact running backs Keith Ford, Alex Ross

by Ryan Aber Published: April 5, 2014

Sooner co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said the zone-read offense that OU implemented last year for Knight is “made for” a runner like Ford.

“He’s got a ton of opportunities and he’s been put in a lot of situations,” Norvell said. “He’s getting those opportunities and you learn from your mistakes and you get better but he’s made some really good plays. He’s a physical back. He’s got to be more consistent.”

Ford, a true freshman last season, had a steep learning curve last year that included not only learning the playbook and fitting in with the system but also figuring out he couldn’t get away with some of the things he did in high school.

“Everybody is faster, everybody is bigger and everybody is stronger,” Ford said. “They are on scholarship too. … They are going to try to make plays, they are going to try to create turnovers. It’s a part of the game.”

Ford said the adjustment for improved ball security was about doing “little things” right.

“When you’re a freshman sometimes you don’t value the ball the way you need to,” Norvell said. “He had a couple issues with that and that’s a definite emphasis for him — locking up in traffic and making sure you take care of it,” Norvell said.

He’s also gained size, putting on nearly 10 pounds since last season. Ross has gained more than 10 pounds.

“All those guys come and they’re gonna give you that thump,” Sooner defensive end Charles Tapper said. “If you’re not ready for that thump, they’re gonna run you over. They’re gonna take that ball and they’re gonna hit the goalpost every day.”