Oklahoma’s running back of the future might’ve been watching from the sideline Saturday as five-star signee Joe Mixon was in attendance for the Sooners spring football game.
On the field, neither Keith Ford nor Alex Ross — the two most likely of players currently on campus to contribute at the spot next season — did anything spectacular.
Ford showed more of the power that got him carries last year but had just 29 yards on nine carries. Ross had six yards on three carries.
After the game, though, co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel talked about another facet of their games.
“The surprising thing about both of those guys is this spring, they both caught balls extremely well out of the backfield,” Heupel said. “They’ve grown to understand pass protection. There were areas where those young guys were deficient a year ago, but they’ve made some strides here during spring ball and that’s going to be critical for us to be successful this fall.”
Neither caught a pass Saturday.
THOMAS, HANSEN STILL BATTLING
While Trevor Knight is the clear starting quarterback, the Sooners are still trying to figure out who will be Knight’s backup.
Of the four quarterbacks who played Saturday, Baker Mayfield clearly had the best performance but he can’t play this year after transferring from Texas Tech.
The battle between Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen will go into the fall.
Thomas, a redshirt freshman, was 5 of 9 for 52 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. Hansen, a true freshman, was 4 for 8 for 58 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Hansen didn’t enter the game until well after the others had played.
“I thought they did a nice job,” coach Bob Stoops said of the two. “They threw nice balls. They didn’t throw any awful passes right to a guy. They did a nice job letting the game come to them for the most part.”
JOHNSON BANGED UP
Junior Cortez Johnson has been in a tight position battle with sophomore Dakota Austin for the open cornerback spot opposite Zack Sanchez.
But Johnson had to sit out Saturday’s game with a lingering injury.
Stoops said Johnson’s injury was minor, and he was nearly able to play.
Austin had three tackles Saturday.
Stoops said Julian Wilson, who sat out the spring recovering from shoulder surgery, could play either cornerback or safety this fall after spending most of the last two seasons at nickelback.