Coach Bob Stoops wasn’t shy about calling out Oklahoma’s young, inexperienced offensive line during his press conference to open up spring drills on Tuesday. "They haven’t had the winter that everybody else has had,” Stoops said. "Right now, they are the weak link of our team. We’ll see if they can respond and have the kind of spring and summer to help us become a team that can contend for a Big 12 Championship. They will be a big part whether we will or will not, depending on their attitude and work habits.” Rising senior guard Brian Simmons, one of only two returning linemen with significant playing experience, called the criticism fair after the Sooners’ first spring practice Tuesday. "I do understand completely what he is saying,” Simmons said. "We have a lot of work to do. The thing is getting everyone to work together at a high level every time.” Offensive line coach James Patton is working the following players on the first team: Trent Williams (left tackle), Simmons (left guard), Ben Habern (center), Stephen Good (right guard) and Cory Brandon (right tackle). "Those guys, at this point, whether it’s their work ethic or their attitude, need to improve,” Stoops said. "They’ve been very inconsistent in how they work and their toughness and their discipline.”
Injury reportStoops confirmed Tuesday that several starters will miss spring practice recovering from injuries. Defensive end Auston English, who sustained a knee sprain last season, is out for the spring. He was also spotted wearing a boot on his right foot during practice. Tight end Brody Eldridge, who struggled with a recurring ankle sprain in 2008, will be held out for at least the first half of the spring, Stoops said. Other players out for the spring are: linebackers Austin Box (elbow) and Ryan Reynolds (knee), defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger (back) and running back DeMarco Murray (leg), who are all coming off surgeries. Stoops said their rehabilitations were going well. Wide receiver Jameel Owens and defensive tackle Cordero Moore were limited during Tuesday’s practice with undisclosed injuries. Owens was wearing a boot on his right foot.
Roster updateStoops officially announced that reserve guard Kody Cooke and linebacker Lamont Robinson won’t be with the team this year. "Kody hasn’t left yet, but he is intending to transfer,” Stoops said. "Lamont wanted to graduate, which he will and move on and pursue other interests.” Stoops also said that cornerback Jamell Fleming is currently not with the team, but has a chance to rejoin the Sooners after the spring. "Jamell has academic issues that he’s working on this semester with a chance to be back in the summer, provided he does what he’s capable of doing,” Stoops said.
Limited workStoops said he would prefer to limit the contact this spring for veteran players like running back Chris Brown and tight end Jermaine Gresham. "They don’t need to prove anything to me,” Stoops said. "I know what they can do.”
Box citedBox received a citation from the Norman Police Department early Saturday morning for outraging public decency. He was seen by Norman police urinating in public outside a Norman restaurant at around 1:55 a.m. According to the police report, Box was allowed to sign the citation and was released.
Freshman fiveThe Sooners have five freshmen who enrolled early and will participate with the team this spring in linebackers Jaydan Bird, Ronnell Lewis and Tom Wort, safety Javon Harris and quarterback Drew Allen. "They’ve all done great,” Stoops said. "I’m excited with this group.” By Jake Trotter