Safety Tony Jefferson surging
Wide receiver Kenny Stills isn't the only freshman making a push for significant playing time.
So is safety Tony Jefferson, a fellow Californian.
"If we started today we would play Tony Jefferson as our starting nickel back," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
Like Stills, Jefferson enrolled early to participate in spring ball and made an instant impression with his unique blend of speed and power.
"That's got to be a guy who has a little bit different skill set in regards to some coverage ability as well as blitzing ability, playmaking, playing in the box at times," said Venables, referring to the position Keenan Clayton played the last two seasons.
Jefferson will vie for playing there with sophomore Joe Ibiloye.
Cornerback competition continues
One of the big challenges for Venables will be replacing cornerbacks Dom Franks and Brian Jackson.
But so far, Venables likes what he has seen from their apparent replacements, junior Jamell Fleming and sophomore Demontre Hurst.
Fleming, a special teams star the last two years, has been capitalizing off finally getting an opportunity in the defensive lineup.
"Jamell Fleming is probably as talented as anyone we have on the defensive side of the ball," Venables said. "With his ability to run, jump and change direction, he's a very explosive athlete. He's been in the program and for us we felt he played really well in the spring, made consistent improvement and looked good yesterday. He plays with confidence, he's very sure of himself on the field because he's been here now and this is his fourth year."
Hurst was solid as OU's third corner last year, which has given the Sooner staff confidence he's ready to shoulder a starting role.
"Demontre Hurst is a young guy who played last year if for no other reason was his confidence and love to compete," Venables said. "He's a very competitive young guy and did not get overwhelmed. He thinks football is just football. Lancaster against West Mesquite is just like Oklahoma versus Texas. Some guys are that way and some get in the deer in a headlights realm. He loves to compete and loves to be coached."
For backup roles at corner, the Sooners are looking at Gabe Lynn, Marcus Trice, Lamar Harris and Owasso freshman Aaron Colvin, who has turned heads.
"We feel good about those guys," Venables said. "(Safety) Jonathan Nelson is also competing there, and a freshman who has looked terrific up to this point is Aaron Colvin. He is 185 pounds, and can really run, has great coverage skills, makes a lot of plays on the ball and is an instinctive guy."Chaisson not practicing
OU defensive lineman Justin Chaisson is currently not practicing with the Sooners as he deals with a personal matter.
Chaisson, a native of Las Vegas, redshirted as a freshman last season.
Norvell's brother an actor
Aaron Norvell, the younger brother of OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell, is an actor. Aaron Norvell has appeared in the movie "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and on televisions shows NCIS, Crossing Jordan, 24 and several soap operas.
"He hasn't broken in big," Jay Norvell said. "I told him, when he does, I'm going to come out and be his personal servant."
Jay Norvell said his little brother is "kind of living the dream." Aaron Norvell also is a personal trainer on Hermosa Beach.
Aaron Norvell played linebacker at Wisconsin, where their father played and where Jay was on the staff when Aaron played.