Oklahoma senior punter Tress Way averaged a respectable 42.0 yards per punt last season, but it was a drop-off from his 44.0 and 45.7 averages his first two seasons.
In the Insight Bowl, he averaged 50.3 yards on six punts.
“After talking my dad and Michael Hunnicutt they said, ‘You have one of the strongest legs in the nation, just go out and play,' ” Way said. “The Insight Bowl, it got back to being fun again. Every punt isn't going to be perfect. If I just relax and hit it smooth I know I can change the field.”
Part of the explanation for a slight dip was that Way perfected pooch punts. He was among the national leaders in kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
Way said he also overanalyzed his technique.
“Last season there were a lot of expectations for me,” Way said. “Nobody expected more out of me than myself. I was really critiquing myself on my mechanics, my form. I forgot to go out and just love the game and play.”
IKARD ON THE MOVE AGAIN?
Junior Gabe Ikard played center exclusively this spring but might move back to left guard during two-a-days when senior center Ben Habern returns from a neck injury.
“If I end up playing guard in the fall it would (have been) better to get reps at guard, but blocking is blocking,” Ikard said. “Ben is out with a neck injury and you can't do anything about that.”
The McGuinness product pushed his way into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman at left guard. He started seven games at center last year when Habern was sidelined by a broken forearm.
Ikard said there is an advantage to playing center.
“It helps me learn the offense even more,” Ikard said. “You have to know all the calls, know where the defense is going to bump, when safeties are going to roll down. I'm beginning to see things before they happen.”
GRISSOM BATTLING ANOTHER INJURY
Sophomore defensive end Geneo Grissom is a potential rotation candidate but once again is battling a foot stress fracture. He redshirted his freshman year with the injury. This time it's his other foot.
“He must have a little bit of a genetic defect or weakness,” said coach Bob Stoops. “We knew he had it in the winter. We were hoping just to get through spring and then fix it. We were doing some drills and it just popped on him.”
A four-star recruit out of Hutchinson, Kan., Grissom appeared in six games last season.
“It's just a shame,” said defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright. “This was a time you would think Geneo would jump forward and make a big jump. I thought he would. He had a really good winter.
“We thought he was on the verge of coming out this spring and really showing he was going to compete for a lot of playing time. I think he still will in the fall. ... He's a fairly talented guy. He has a good attitude. The problem is we haven't gotten to see enough of him.”