OU football notepad: Oklahoma defensive line working toward more consistency

OU's Neville Gallimore runs a drill during practice, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the Al Velie Rugby Complex. OU defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux said Gallimore can be a "dominant player" this season if he can stay healthy. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s defensive line hasn’t lived up to the standard Calvin Thibodeaux came to expect as a former OU player.

Thibodeaux, who’s coached the Sooner defensive line since 2016, says it’s been clear they haven’t performed the way his OU teams did in the mid-2000s.

Those groups included All-Americans Tommie Harris and Dan Cody. Gerald McCoy, who came after Thibodeaux’s playing days, also earned two All-America selections in 2008 and 2009.

Thibodeaux found positive plays from his group last season but they're pushing for more consistency in 2019.

“When I go back and you look at games, you could see flashes,” Thibodeaux said. “You can see guys doing some really positive things, but you got to be consistent, you got to do it all the time.

“And I've seen the flashes and there's plays, you can go on any game and you can see Neville Gallimore flashing, but we want it all the time. And to really have a true self-evaluation of yourself and be honest with yourself and say, 'Hey, I can be better and dig deep.' And make those corrections. That's what we're trying to get done.”

Half the battle for the Sooners’ defensive line is staying healthy.

Gallimore and fellow seniors Kenneth Mann and senior Marquise Overton dealt with injuries last season.

It’s difficult for Thibodeaux to know how deep his defensive front will be in 2019 but he’s intrigued to see where this group can go.

“We want to be productive at the end of the day,” Thibodeaux said. “Once everybody gets healthy early on, we will see what's what. I think the guys are busting their butt. I think they're working really hard. And I think this scheme is going to allow all those guys to make some plays. So, looking forward to it.”

• Defensive players limited: OU allowed media to watch 20 minutes of practice Monday, one of two sessions the team allows in preseason camp.

Players aren't wearing full pads yet. But some notable defenders were limited and going lightly in jerseys and shorts: defensive ends Ronnie Perkins, Jalen Redmond and Kenneth Mann.

Lincoln Riley said last week that Redmond is 100 percent, but is being eased into things because of the blood clot issue he's dealt with in the past. He participated in stretches with a helmet on but took it off when teams began light contact work — a period he spent running sprints.

Mann was injured in the spring and Riley said he will be limited for some time. Perkins has otherwise been considered fully healthy.

Others seen not in pads were outside linebacker Bryan Mead, defensive end/outside linebacker Joseph Weté and defensive back Starrland Baldwin.

• No records on Brooks: Two traffic violations earlier this year are OU running back Kennedy Brooks’ only records on file with the Norman Police Department, an NPD spokesperson confirmed with The Transcript.

Last month, Brooks’ name was cleared in a Title IX investigation stemming from abuse allegations by his ex-girlfriend, Mallory Jech, leading to questions about whether a police report existed involving the two.

Jech made her allegations public for the first time last week. She has no record with local police beyond a 2018 traffic collision, the NPD spokesperson said.

Brooks, who was OU’s leading rusher last fall, was reinstated by the football team after the Title IX office finished its findings and has been with the team since practice began Saturday. He was limited in Monday’s practice for undisclosed reasons, but according to The Athletic, it was not related to his situation with Jech.

• Mini-plan, single-game tickets on sale: A $125 two-game OU football ticket mini-plan and a limited number of single-game tickets are now on sale.

A mini-plan purchase offers fans a chance to get on the priority list for season tickets in 2020. The plan includes tickets to the South Dakota (Sept. 7) game, and either the West Virginia (Oct. 19) or Iowa State (Nov. 9) games.

A limited number of single-game tickets are also available: Houston (Sept. 1): $80 upper level/$60 lower level; South Dakota (Sept. 7): $75/$55; Texas Tech (Sept. 28): $95/$85; West Virginia (Oct. 19): $95/$85; Iowa State (Nov. 9): $95/$85; TCU (Nov. 23): $125/$115.

Tickets are available at SoonerSports.com or by calling the OU ticket office at (405) 325-2424.

• This, that: Thibodeaux said sophomore Isaiah Thomas has stood out this offseason. “You could tell it's slowing down for him and he's making plays,” he said. … Linebackers coach Brian Odom praised sophomore linebacker Levi Draper's efforts to add nearly 20 pounds of muscle this offseason. Draper checked in at 245 pounds this fall after entering last season at 226.

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