DeMarco Murray compiled 774 return yards in 2008, the second-highest total in school history, but played only running back last season following a special-team injury.
"We'll give him an opportunity to return some kicks," said running backs coach Cale Gundy. "It's situations I see and coach (Bob) Stoops sees. The first kick of the game, he's fresh, let him go. Maybe he starts to get a little tired, so we put somebody else in there."
Mossis Madu, OU's leading kickoff returner last season (21.4 yard average), and a few freshmen also are in the mix. Freshman wide receiver Trey Franks ran a 10.1 100 meters at West Orange, Texas.
"He's a fast dude, but he hasn't taken those licks," Gundy said. "We were watching kickoff returns (Sunday), and I was like, 'Holy cow, who is that guy?' They said, 'Coach, he was the fastest kid in Texas.' We're trying to see how quickly we believe (the freshmen) can handle it in a big-time game."
Several freshmen continue to make strong impressions. Stoops said cornerback Aaron Colvin "has been outstanding," linebacker Corey Nelson "has been excellent" and quarterback Blake Bell "continues to do very well."
Stoops said one freshman overlooked is Trey Millard, a tight end/fullback/H-back from Columbia, Mo.
"He's unheralded with this recruiting class because the position isn't a guy who gets the headlines," Stoops said. "But he's probably one of the best athletes we got in this freshman class, his ability to run, his size and strength. He catches the ball great, really fluid.
"Trey is going to be a really good player for us. He does all of it well. You know we love those kind of guys. He's as good as any we've had there coming in (to the program). Hopefully, he continues to progress."
The Sooners worked out in full pads for the first time on Monday.
"We don't like to be down on the ground or at each other's legs and falling on the ground anyway, so when we (just) have on our shoulder pads and helmets on we're pretty much 100 percent full go anyway," Stoops said.
Center Ben Habern said: "I loved it. (It's similar) but there is a difference because when you're in full pads it's more realistic. It's harder. But honestly it's more fun because it's more like a game situation."
Matt Moreland is still working through academic issues. If Moreland isn't an option, Stoops said punter Tress Way most likely handle kickoffs, but walk-on Michael Hunnicutt "kicks it pretty well, too. They've been fairly consistent, pretty close to what Matt had been doing." ... Fourth-team quarterback John Nimmo and Southmoore walk-on wide receiver Nyko Symonds are competing for the holder's job. "The snaps and holds right now are excellent," Stoops said. ... It's looking doubtful redshirt freshman defensive tackle Justin Chaisson will return to the team. "He's working on some personal issues. We'll make a decision in a week or two whether he'll rejoin us or not," Stoops said. ... After hearing freshman running back Roy Finch took a big-time hit from Ronnell Lewis, Gundy was asked if Finch was OK. "I was doing some other stuff so I asked them, 'Did he hold on to the ball?' They said, 'Yep.' I said, 'Good.'"