Oklahoma held its first practice Thursday, and coach Bob Stoops was pleased with his team's effort — even with the early start.
“I thought it was great,” Stoops said. “It was a great move going early; it couldn't have been better out. We didn't have one issue whatsoever.”
The Sooners started practicing Thursday at 7 a.m. because of the recent heat wave, and Stoops said there was only one straggler — junior defensive back Lamar Harris.
“I only saw one guy running in a little bit late,” Stoops said.
The Sooners will practice Friday at 7 a.m. as well, and will move practice back to about 6:45 a.m. on Saturday because of Fan Appreciation Day, Stoops said.
Stoops estimated that the Sooners took 80 team snaps and nearly 50 pass-scale snaps, and added that, because players are around all year, there isn't much to re-learn.
“I think ... you could almost go out and play a game, meaning everybody retains everything really pretty well,” Stoops said.
STILL WAITING ON THREE FRESHMEN
Though he didn't mention them by name, Stoops said the Sooners are still waiting on three freshmen — defensive linemen Jordan Phillips and Jordan Wade and wide receiver Trey Metoyer — to join the team.
“We've got a couple guys still finishing up some classes,” Stoops said. “A couple of D-lineman are still working on classes to finish up. We anticipate that happening here pretty soon. And a receiver still finishing up some classes. That will be determined here in another few days.”
Stoops said “absolutely” that Phillips and Wade could have an impact this season once they arrive.
Metoyer is taking two classes at Tyler (Texas) Junior College and needs an A grade in one and a B in the other. His summer session ends Aug. 11.
STOOPS EXPERIMENTING WITH JEFFERSON, NELSON
Stoops said the team is experimenting with sophomore defensive back Tony Jefferson, who played nickelback last season, at the deep safety positions and sophomore linebacker Corey Nelson at the nickelback.
“We're looking at Tony Jefferson some in the deep positions,” Stoops said. “He needs to know the deep positions as well as the nickel positions. As a true freshman a year ago, that wasn't the right thing to do. It was too much to grasp. But in just one day out there, you can tell he's already grasping playing the deep safety positions.
“We're looking at Corey Nelson not only as the outside weak backer, but as the nickel outside strong backer. To us, it's always about getting your absolute best 11 on the field.”
STOOPS HAPPY WITH KICKERS ON DAY 1
Stoops said he was pleased with his kickers during Thursday's opening practice.
“Jimmy (Stevens) was solid,” Stoops said. “Michael Hunnicutt was really night and day compared to a year ago. Tress (Way) hit a couple of 80-yard punts. They looked good.”
Stoops added that there were two walk-on kickers, both freshmen, working out with the scholarship players — Michael Hill, from Tarpon Springs, Fla., and Eric Hosek, from Sherman, Texas.
Stevens hit 19 of 23 field goals last season, with a long of 42 yards.
GETTING USED TO ALL-ACCESS CAMERAS
ESPN is in town documenting the Sooners' early preparations for the 2011 season.
How does Stoops feel about the “All-Access” cameras during practice?
“It takes a little to get used to it, but you forget about them really and just go about your business,” Stoops said. “Every now and then you've gotta tell one to get out of the middle of almost getting run over ... I don't want to get any of my players injured. I'm not worried about him so much.”
Stoops said the only major position change is true freshman Nila Kasitati, who was recruited as a tight end but is practicing with the offensive line as a guard. ... The Sooners didn't perform the usual first-day conditioning tests. Strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt didn't deem them necessary because of how the players handled their summer, Stoops said, adding that he believed it was the first time in his tenure that the team skipped those tests. ... Stoops said one of the team's academic advisors told the team this was “one of the best summers we've ever had” with regard to classwork. ... Junior running back Jermie Calhoun tore an ACL in the Sooners' win over Colorado last season, but was back in action during Thursday's practice. Stoops said he “was in really good shape. He's worked hard and it's good to see him back out there.”