The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 9, 2014

Youth served in spring practice

NORMAN — There is not an opponent to prepare for within the next six months, and even the smallest impact of an impressive recruiting class cannot be gauged until August.

Yet, Oklahoma began spring practice Saturday with an energy that wasn’t necessarily absent in the last few years, just more apparent.

OU coach Bob Stoops admits the way the 2013 season ended — the road conference wins against Kansas State and Oklahoma State and the Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama — galvanized the program. Recruiting energized in January for the coaches. The returning team thrilled the strength and conditioning staff with their focus since mid January.

A coach that has won a national championship, eight Big 12 championships and every BCS bowl game before that era of college football closed last season, said the spring brings a charge like no other time of year.

“You get to see the young guys that we’ve been seeing in practice now in more competitive situations fighting for jobs and making those plays and not everybody in the outside world gets to see it, but you as a coach get to see it,” Stoops said. “When we go good against good (starter vs. starter) and you see them make those types of plays, it’s exciting to see young guys really figure it out and become ready to play.”

That is at the heart of today’s practice and the 13 more leading up to the April 12 spring game at Owen Field.

The Sooners, who went 11-2 last season, are not a team with a lot of holes. They finished at No. 6 in the final Associated Press Top 25 and still possess the bulk of that team, especially on defense where nine starters return.

Applying more polish to quarterback Trevor Knight, who played like a gleaming gem in the Sugar Bowl, will be an important aspect of spring practice.

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