On paper, OU returns nine starters defensively. But according to secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright, that number is actually 10. "We’ve got a lot of veterans back, and if you count Quinton Carter as a starter, then we’ve got 10 starters back, and I do,” Wright said of his rising junior safety. "I count Quinton Carter as a starter. I’m excited about him.” Carter missed the start of last year with a hamstring injury, but came on strong in conference play to finish the season with 37 tackles. With Nic Harris gone, Carter is starting at strong safety this spring. "Potentially, he’s got a chance to be a really good player for us,” Wright said. "I’m really happy to see him out there and healthy. He’s a lot of fun to coach and a lot of fun on the field. He enjoys practicing, and he enjoys playing football, so he brings a lot of fun and a lot of energy.” As a youngster, Carter sometimes brought too much energy to practice. "He’s really physical. He likes it. He likes contact, he likes lighting those guys up,” Wright said. "There were a couple of times early in his career where we ejected him for doing that to our own guys. "We don’t necessarily like him lighting our guys up. But we like him lighting our opponents up.”
HANNA FLAUNTS ATHLETICISMFor as long as there’s football at Oklahoma, there might never be another Jermaine Gresham. With a unique blend of size and speed, Gresham is a nightmare matchup at tight end for opposing defenses. But when he graduates after next season, the Sooners will be able to plug another athletic tight end in the lineup in 6-foot-4, 215-pound rising sophomore James Hanna. "James Hanna looks really good, and he’s very athletic,” said quarterback Sam Bradford. "He’s kind of like Jermaine. You can put him in the slot, you can put him as a tight end combo receiver because he’s got such good speed. "I think you might see him maybe as a downfield threat in our offense this year.”
TAKING A BREAKThe Sooners are off this week for spring break. They will resume practice next week on March 25. The Sooners have 10 practices remaining for the spring, including the Red-White Spring Game on April 11. BY JAKE TROTTER
OU Red-White Spring game
→When: 1 p.m. Saturday, April 11 →Where: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman →Tickets: Can be purchased online at SoonerSports.com, by phone at (405) 325-2424 or in person on the plaza level of the Asp Avenue parking facility. Tickets are $5 through April 7 and $10 after. All children under 5 are admitted free, as are OU students with a valid student ID. All spring-game seating is general admission.