The Norman Transcript

August 13, 2013

Filling in the gaps

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Highly coveted junior college defensive tackle Quincy Russell still hasn’t arrived in Norman, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops expects that to change this week.

“From what I understand, all work is finished and handed in and we’re just waiting for the schools to make sure, however they do it, process it all and we’re hopeful that’s any day now,” Stoops said.

Russell signed with Oklahoma in December after two seasons at Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College. The San Antonio native originally signed with Texas out of high school and was considered an essential piece of the Sooners’ 2013 recruiting class.

However, the Sooners expected him to be on campus in January. Instead, they’ve waited over seven months for Russell to get his academics in order.

Apparently, that part is complete.

Assuming Russell can start practice this week, he’ll join a thin group of defensive tackles. Chuka Ndulue was moved from end to tackle to soften the blow of losing 2012 seniors Stacy McGee, Jamarkus McFarland and Casey Walker. What remains has never started a college game.

Russell, who is 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, would help that group. But there’s still the matter of him getting in shape to play.

Stoops downplayed that issue Monday. He expects the former juco All-American to be physical ready to play when he arrives and shouldn’t need much extra work to get up to playing speed.

“I don’t want to say it’s easy to learn (the defensive tackle position) ,but basically it’s just about technique and the learning part of it. What he needs to do, he’ll learn that fairly quickly,” Stoops said. “From what we understand visiting with him and people he’s worked with, he’s worked really hard and is in really good shape. If that’s the case, he’ll pick it up rather quickly.”

Scrimmage report: OU held it’s first preseason scrimmage Saturday. It was closed to the public.

Stoops said there were 98 plays and the Sooners managed to get through the day without any injuries. Although, wide receiver Trey Metoyer was held out due to an ankle sprain he suffered last week.

Working with the refs: A Big 12 officiating crew was brought in for Saturday’s scrimmage. One aspect of the scrimmage the OU coach was pleased with was lack of penalties. It’s important, considering the Sooners averaged 5.9 flags a game last season. Their opponents averaged 4.7.

The first scrimmage marked one of several days OU will spend with officials on the field.

“Generally, what we usually get is Big 12 officials through our two major scrimmages and then outside of that we get some guys who come out about 3 to 4 other days and try to call it like they would a game,” Stoops said.

OU will also conduct a meeting with players about the new “targeting” rule this season on Thursday. That meeting will also include conference officials.

“We’ll have them explain it to the players and how they see it and how’ll they’ll try and judge it,” Stoops said.

News will filter down: OU is going to name either Blake Bell or Trevor Knight as starting quarterback some time before its Aug. 31 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe.

There will be an announcement made to the media, but outside of Bell and Knight, there won’t be an announcement to the team.

“We visit with the individual players. And then the players start realizing who is getting all the No. 1 reps,” Stoops said. “We don’t do (announcements). That would be treating that position different than every other. We don’t tell them who is going to start at D-end, linebacker or wide receiver. There’s no sense in doing that with them.”

Ward in waiting: Stoops gave no update on the status of defensive end D.J. Ward. He’s been held out of preseason practice due to a “spleen issue.”

Stoops said he would have more to say on Ward’s status either today or Wednesday.

Didn’t notice: Freshman running back Alex Ross wears No. 28, but he said that isn’t an homage to former OU All-American Adrian Peterson. It was the number OU’s equipment staff gave him last season.

“I probably wore it in high school; they gave it to me but I wasn’t coming in here like, ‘I want 28, give me the number.’ It just happened,” he said. “I didn’t ask for it in high school. They just gave it to me there. He’s one of my top favorite running backs but, no, I don’t wear it just because he wore it.”

OU has never retired a jersey number. Considering there is no precedent, it’s doubtful it ever will.

“We’re one of those places — and I say it modestly — we go retiring or taking numbers off the shelf and we wouldn’t have many to choose from,” Stoops said. “There’s been a lot of great players here that have worn a lot of numbers.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn