Originally Published: Mar 21, 2011 11:18 AM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
NORMAN, Oklahoma— The Oklahoma Sooner football team held its first practice of the spring Monday afternoon in Norman.
The opening day of spring practice kicked off with head coach Bob Stoops holding a press conference at noon.
"We were delayed a few weeks because of spring break and the missed days in the weight room due to snow days, but we're really excited to get on the field today,” said Stoops.
The team took the field Monday afternoon for the first of its 15 spring practices, and even though spring ball is getting started a little late, Stoops said the delay has benefited the team.
“Our guys did a great job in the weight room, their conditioning, gaining some strength and speed," he said.
It may only be day one on the field today, but the competition and expectations are high regardless.
Can the Sooners live up to expectations that come with a potential preseason No. 1 ranking? One thing is for sure - the competition is expected to heat up as players fight for their starting spots.
“The only way you are an excellent and solid football team is to build all areas,” Stoops said when asked if there is one important issue pressing the team this year. “We have quality individuals ready to step up and play.”
The departure of DeMarco Murray at the running back position throws many names into the mix, especially considering Roy Finch is still recovering from a second stress fracture. (Finch missed five games earlier in the season due to the stress fracture in his left foot.
Even though he did return toward the end of the season, he re-aggravated the same stress fracture, which forced him to miss OU’s Fiesta Bowl game against UConn.)
Not to mention who will get the nod in replacing defensive end Jeremy Beal and safeties Quinton Carter and Jonathan Nelson. Beal and Carter have led their respective units for years, and their backups are significantly less experienced.
Stoops addressed some of the injuries on the team during his press conference Monday, saying Finch is expected to be able to play along with Ronnell Lewis although Stoops said they will be cautious with how much time is given to Lewis.
Dejuan Miller is expected to be cleared this week, but Jermie Calhoun is not ready to play.
Stoops says both Trey Millard and Trent Ratterree will not participate in spring ball due to shoulder injuries.
This season is also the first without Kevin Wilson who left OU to be the head coach at Indiana University. Oklahoma’s play calling responsibilities will be up to co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell this season.
Another difference is the addition of new assistant coach Bruce Kittle who was added to the coaching staff after being promoted from his position as an on-campus recruiter. Kittle will coach the tight ends and tackles.
Spring practice wraps up with the annual Red/ White scrimmage slated for April 16.
You can also follow the links below for more info on this year’s team:
2011 Spring Guide
Red/White game time
The Sooners' first game of the season is set for September 3 against the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Kickoff time has not been announced and the rest of the conference schedule has not been finalized.