A busy Saturday began for the Oklahoma football team with its third practice of the year. After two days where the team hit the field before the sun came up, the players received a bit of a reprieve on day three, though practice still got underway at 6:45 a.m.
Following practice, the Sooners took part in the annual “Meet the Sooners” event. The free event gave Oklahoma fans a chance to meet and interact with their favorite players and coaches, while autographs were available for those aged 14 and younger.
“It’s great; I love the kids,” OU head coach Bob Stoops said. “The children are the best.”
Stoops even got the opportunity to meet a little boy who informed the head coach that his dog was named “Bob Stoops.” The head coach didn’t miss a beat, asking the young fan, “I hope he’s a good dog.”
The event saw the players grouped by position as they got to meet the fans that cheer for them on Saturdays along with members of the OU Spirit Squad.
“It’s fun,” junior quarterback Blake Bell said. “Just seeing all these fans come out and support us, and getting to see all the kids and families that come out and support us, it’s awesome.”
After enjoying their time with the fans, the Sooners’ attention turned toward the media with the team’s annual Media Day inside the Adrian Peterson Team Meeting Room.
Head coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell all addressed the media at the podium, as did quarterbacks Blake Bell and Trevor Knight, running back Brennan Clay, linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive back Gabe Lynn.
One of the themes that seemed to resonate throughout the team is that the players are excited about the experience they’re bringing back.
“It always helps,” offensive lineman Austin Woods said. “We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of snaps here, and it’s always good to have people who know what they’re doing and know what they’re expected to do out there.”
For others, like sophomore wide receiver Sterling Shepard, it means being more comfortable with a year under his belt.
“I feel a lot more comfortable,” Shepard said. “I think the game has slowed down a lot for me. As a freshman, you have got to try to learn the plays and the pace is a lot faster. Everything has slowed down and I know all the plays so I don’t have to worry about messing that up or anything.”
Defensively, Mike Stoops is back for his second season, giving the returning players another year to work in his system.
“We have Coach Mike Stoops, Coach Tim Kish coming back for the second year in a row,” linebacker Corey Nelson said. “With the players who were here last year, the chemistry is just off the charts right now. We’ve got a very good vibe with [the coaches]. We understand what they want and what they are looking for.”
In addition to the local media assembled on Saturday, Seth Davis from Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports was in Norman on Saturday for his Campus Insiders project. Davis spoke with Bob Stoops, men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger and athletics director Joe Castiglione.
Davis also got to tour Headington Hall during his time on campus and even took time to give his thoughts on Oklahoma Athletics with Jessica Coody of SoonerSports.tv. We’ll keep fans posted on further information on the air date for Davis’ special. He posted a couple pictures from today’s visit on his Twitter account at @SethDavisHoops.
Photos and Video Board
In the midst of media day, the players and coaches also took time to shoot all the preseason photos and headshots. Position groups also got their group photos in, while head coach Bob Stoops took a photo with each newcomer.
After taking the photos on the field, the players headed up to the SoonerVision studios to film pieces for the video board during games, including starting lineup introduction and crowd prompts, such as telling fans to get louder when needed.
While waiting to go into the studio, a few select players, including Blake Bell, Trey Millard, Roy Finch and more, took part in a Twitter chat with fans through the @OU_Football account.