The Norman Transcript

March 13, 2013

The race has just started for Sooners’ top offensive spot

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma went through its third spring practice and the first in full pads Tuesday.

Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said the way he’s divided reps among all three of his quarterbacks is that he has given them all one practice as the No. 1 quarterback.

“It’s going to be that way through the early part of spring,” he said.

How long it remains that way will be the biggest question of the spring.

Players said they haven’t seen much separation between junior Blake Bell, sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight.

During the brief portion of Tuesday’s practice that was open to the media, the trio ran drills side by side. The scrimmaging was closed.

“All three of those guys had really good days. They’ve made mistakes, but they’ve all made good plays as well,” said Heupel. “The guy who will ultimately be our quarterback is the guy who makes a mistake, learns from it and doesn’t repeat it.”

Video break: OU took time out to shoot a “Harlem Shake” video Tuesday. Former coach Barry Switzer, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims and All-American linebacker Brian Bosworth joined the current team in the 45-second video.

Fullback Trey Millard talked to reporters while still wearing a gorilla suit. The idea apparently came from the players after watching some videos other schools had done.

“We showed Coach Stoops some videos from a few teams who did it and he said if we talked to some people maybe we could get it on,” Millard said. “We definitely pursued that.”

As far as the celebrities involved, that was above Millard’s level.

“That was Stoops,” he said. “I don’t have those guys’ numbers.”

Cornerback Aaron Colvin is the one dancing in the beginning. Running backs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay are the ones in the bunny suits.

Here’s a link to the video: http://www.you-tube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Vmru_de1Rj0

Offensive line light in numbers: Senior guard/center Gabe Ikard was able to participate in practice but his right hand was in a cast after suffering a broken bone last week. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said he did some drills but was held out of most of the contact.

Also, guard Tyler Evans, who missed last season due to a torn ACL, has been held out of the first three practices. Both have been starters for several seasons, but Bedenbaugh believes it’s critical for the offense to get practice as a group in order to improve.

“Those five guys working together is the most important thing,” he said. “We’ve got a few new calls and those guys are getting familiar with each other in the things we’re doing. It’s important for him to be out there, but what can you do? You throw the next guy in and go from there.”

Bulked up: Williams said he’s bulked up to 200 pounds, which is about 10 more than last season. The senior believes he hasn’t lost any speed, but feels the difference.

“I felt more powerful,” he said. “He (OU strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt) is working on our legs a lot. Going through the hole and getting off guys, I feel more powerful.”

Number switch: Wide receiver Jalen Saunders has changed his number from No. 18 to No. 8. He said it’s the number he’s always worn because it was the one his father wore when he played.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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