The Norman Transcript

April 11, 2009

Former Sooners play flag game

OU football notepad

John Shinn

They don’t move as fast as they did in their glory days and it’s hard to run the triple-option when tackles can’t be broken, but the Varsity O Legends Flag Football Game was a hit with the fans Saturday.

The White beat the Red 12-6 but few were paying attention to final score.

For most, it was the first time they’d done anything competitive at Owen Field since their last collegiate game.

“You have to go back to 1987, I guess,” former All-American linebacker Brian Bosworth said. “I haven’t put on cleats since the late ’80s, maybe 1990. It’s fun to be able to do it again.”

About 40 players turned out for the game. Some finished their careers recently. Paul Thompson, who quarterbacked OU to a Big 12 title in 2006, played.

But so did Jamelle Holieway, who quarterbacked the Sooners to a national championship 21 years earlier.

There was a time when OU’s spring game included a varsity-alumni game. It went away, however, because too many players were getting injured.

Even the flag football version left one person — former running back Renaldo Works — on crutches due to an achilles injury.

Nonetheless, the fans loved it and the former players got a kick out of being on Owen Field again.

“The is first time, so hopefully it will turn into a tradition and we’ll keep doing it every year,” former All-American defensive linemen Tony Casillas said.

In and out

Mossis Madu has gone through an interesting spring.

After spending three seasons at running back, he spent the entire spring working at wide receiver. He did not catch a pass Saturday, but was the game’s leading rusher with 9 carries for 44 yards.

“We’re trying to teach him to be not just a running back that plays receiver, but a very competent receiver who is on the field more that we can still kick back in at running back,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “We’re trying to get him to that point and he’s done pretty good.”



The loudest ovation from the 28,000 in attendance Saturday came at halftime. Quarterback Sam Bradford was honored for winning last season’s Heisman Trophy.

“It was really nice to see all the fans out here,” Bradford said. “I don’t know of anywhere else in the country where this many people would come out to watch a spring scrimmage.”

Straight out

of high school

Linebackers Tom Wort and Ronnell Lewis both had two tackles Saturday. On paper, it might not seem like much. But both were playing high school football six months ago. They graduated from high school a semester early to go through spring practice.

“They’ve been great at just going at it mentally and physically. They have a presence about them,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “If they continue to improve, at least a couple of them will help us next fall.”

More expected from Way

Punter Tress Way is expected to take over the punting duties next season. He had a so-so performance Saturday. He had three boots for over 47 yards, but his 13 punts only averaged 39.6 yards.

“He’s had a good spring. I was a little disappointed that today he didn’t handle it a little better,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “But I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen all spring. He has a really powerful leg and big leg. He just needs to iron out some of his technique.”

Way also handled the kickoffs. His five boots averaged 55 yards.

Injury update

The only new injury OU appeared to pick up Saturday was to tight end Trent Ratterree. He went out early in the game. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Ratterree, who caught four passes, suffered a separated shoulder.

—John Shinn