Norman — There was a strange sighting at Oklahoma’s first spring practice Monday at the Everest Indoor Center. DeMarco Murray was there, going through a spring practice with no physical limitations.
It was the first time that’s been the case since the spring of 2007.
“Other than full-out scrimmages, he’ll do everything every day outside of when we do anything that’s live and taking (players) to the ground,” Stoops said. “I’m not going to take a chance of him getting twisted up or getting caught somewhere. I’ve seen DeMarco play a lot of football and it’s been a lot of good football.”
That could be a good sign for Murray. His best season as a Sooner was 2007 when he averaged 6 yards per carry and rushed for 13 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.
Two tight ends will spend the spring working as offensive linemen. Stoops said Gabe Ikard, who redshirted last season, and Eric Mensik have both made the switch for the spring.
“Gabe is a guy we’re really excited about. A big, physical strong guy. Competition stuff we do in the winter, he always seems to win,” Stoops said. “We’re anxious to see how he does in the spring. But he’s a guy who can help us at center or guard or be a physical blocking tight end.”
Mensik started the Oklahoma State game at right tackle and played well.
By moving there in spring, it allows OU to build some offensive line depth prior to the fall, guarding against a season on the line like the last one.
No beef with line
A year ago, Stoops called out the offensive line before spring practice even started. The reports he received from OU’s strength and conditioning staff indicated the group didn’t work very hard in the offseason. It was a different story Monday.
“They’ve been one of our best groups, how they’ve worked, met the challenge every day and their attitude,” Stoops said. “I’m pleased with where they’re at right now.”
Jimmy Stevens lost the place-kicking job to Patrick O’Hara last season. Stoops said both will compete for the job this spring and that competition could gain company.
“Some other young guys will get an opportunity in there as well,” Stoops said. “So we’ll see how that progresses.”
The Sooners were 18-for-28 on field-goal attempts last season and did not have a make from longer than 47 yards.
Bobby Jack Wright moved from defensive backs coach to defensive ends coach with the hiring of Willie Martinez last month. Stoops said Wright will also be special teams coordinator.
John Shinn 366-3536 email@example.com