The first hour of Thursday’s practice was open to the public, and a few hundred fans lined the hill behind the OU Rugby Fields to get a glimpse of the Sooners, who were practicing in shorts and shells. Not dressed for practice was redshirt freshman defensive end David King, whose absence might complicate a muddled battle for the position. Freshman center Ben Habern has been hampered by a lower back injury but participated in contact drills. Partial participants who were held out of contact drills included junior running back DeMarco Murray, who has an injured hamstring, and Brian Lepak, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain.
JIMMY STEVENS DELIVERS COUPLE OF CROWD PLEASERSSophomore kicker Jimmy Stevens earned two of the three loudest cheers of the day, drilling 50- and 53-yard field goals during special teams practice. Stevens was named to the Lou Groza Award watch list. The honor is given to college football’s best kicker. Stevens, a Heritage Hall product, made eight of 11 field goals in 2008, but missed five extra points. The other big cheer Thursday was for Adron Tennell, who jumped over senior cornerback Brian Jackson to haul in a deep pass from Sam Bradford on the first 11-on-11 play of the practice.
HIGH AND TIGHTCameron Kenney took snaps at punter and had a few impressive high, tight-spiraling boots. But redshirt freshman Tress Way outperformed the junior college transfer, consistently putting more distance on his kicks.
THREE NAMED TO BEDNARIK LISTOklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal, linebacker Travis Lewis and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy were named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list. The award is given to college football’s best defensive player. Beal, a member of the preseason All-Big 12 team, had 8 1/2 sacks and 15 1/2 tackles for loss last season. Lewis earned Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors in 2008 after breaking the school record for tackles by a freshman with 144. McCoy is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s best interior lineman. The former Southeast High star was an AP second team All-American in 2008. The only Sooner to win the Bednarik Award was linebacker Teddy Lehman in 2003.