By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Anyone expecting Saturday’s Red-White game to be a true preview for next season better lower their expectations. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops gave an injury report on Tuesday. As many as 11 potential starters will miss the games due to injuries suffered in the spring or offseason surgeries.
Stoops confirmed that Blake Bell’s public debut as a tight end will have to wait until the season opener due to a knee sprain.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard will be held out with hamstring injury. Nagging ailments will also keep defensive end Rashod Favors (knee), defensive tackle Quincy Russell (ankle), wide receiver Durron Neal (ankle and knee), offensive lineman Nila Kasitati (infection) will all be in street clothes on Saturday.
Safety Julian Wilson (shoulder), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (back), offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson (ankle), guard Adam Shead (back) and guard Tyler Evans (knee) were all held out of spring drills due to injuries.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Stoops said. “Fortunate thing is none of them are operations. They’ll all be OK in three or four weeks. When we start in June with all of our main conditioning and training through the summer, they’ll all be ready to go.”
The scrimmage will be offense vs. defense with some simulated special teams. Stoops admitted OU lacks the bodies to break up into two separate teams for a true game.
“We’ll have some fun with it and go at it,” he said.
The Red-White game kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field.
Mayfield will play: Quarterback Baker Mayfield can’t play until the 2015 season, but Stoops said he would get some snaps on Saturday.
Mayfield, who started seven games for Texas Tech last season as a walk-on true freshman, is the No. 4 quarterback behind starter Trevor Knight, No. 2 Cody Thomas and freshman Justice Hansen.
“We’re going to purposely give the other guys more. We need to feed them a lot of snaps here in the last three or four days because Baker isn’t able to play next year,” Stoops said. “We’ve loved what he’s done. He’s got a ton of snaps. But we will intentionally give these other guys more. How much he does, we’ll see. Don’t read anything into it. If he doesn’t get much, it’s because of that. It’s strictly because he’s not able to go next year.”
Packing on the pounds: Chuka Ndulue was an undersized defensive tackle at 275 pounds last season. That won’t be the case this season. The senior has bulked up to 295 pounds.
Ndulue still isn’t sure what the strength and conditioning has done for his target weight.
“Wherever they want me, I’ll do it,” he said. “Two hundred and ninety five is fine, 290 is good if I can move with it and hold a double team and coach is fine with it. I’m fine with 290 as long as I can move.”
Students get a glimpse: OU students can watch the final 45 minutes of Thursday’s practice as a preview for the spring game. The students will also be allowed to interact with the players on field after practice.
“It’ll be fun to give something to our students,” Stoops said. “Again, our student-athletes get to interact with them and participate a little bit. We’ll make the most of it.”
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