The Norman Transcript

August 18, 2009

Sooner line looks good

OU Football Notepad

By John Shinn

The Sooners conducted a 50-play scrimmage at the end of Tuesday night’s practice and OU coach Bob Stoops said it followed the trajectory of the scrimmages that have been held in the preseason.

“It gets a little bit cleaner each time and guys are doing well,” he said.

OU also held a scrimmage Saturday and Stoops said the No. 1 thing that stood out to him was the offensive line. The group will enter the season with at least three new starters, but has held its own against what’s expected to be a very talented defensive line.

Confident kicker

In OU’s two open scrimmages, kicker Jimmy Stevens has looked more confident, more accurate and stronger than he did last season. Stevens said he feels more sure of himself.

“I put in a lot of work in the offseason and did a lot of length-improvement stuff,” he said. “Through the winter and the summer, I’ve felt a lot stronger and it’s helped my confidence quite a bit.”

Stevens struggled last season going 8-for-11 from field-goal range and missing five PATs in 97 attempts. He said he feels more confident than he did at any point last season. He also said getting to kick in front of a crowd at open practices has been beneficial.

“Anytime you can do something in front of people it helps with your confidence,” he said. “It’s something I think will carry into the rest of camp and the season.”

He’s a prospect

Freshman defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland was one of the most highly touted recruits OU signed in February. At Monday’s practice it wasn’t hard to see why the Lufkin, Texas, native was coveted. He gets off the ball quickly and shows the power to hold his own with veteran offensive linemen.

“The guy is fearless,” defensive tackle Adrian Taylor said. “The guy may not know exactly where to go right now … He might be wrong more times than he’s right, but the guy’s potential is limitless.”

On Nagurski list

OU defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and defensive end Jeremy Beal were both named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Tuesday.

The award is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to college football’s best defensive player.

Past winners from Oklahoma include Roy Williams in 2001 and Derrick Strait in 2003.

— John Shinn