Fall Camp Report: August 5

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 05, 2013

Head Coach Bob Stoops
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 5, 2013

On how practice is going: “Going great. The guys are doing a really good job. They’re working hard and staying on the field, so I’m very pleased with it.”

On the Oklahoma drill: “It was good. The guys went at it and played hard. We didn’t get anybody hurt, so it was good.”

On RB Keith Ford’s performance in the Oklahoma drill: “That’s a one-on-one drill. The poor d-lineman had a 350-pound guy hanging on him while Keith’s putting his head down and running him over, so let’s not get carried away, but Keith’s doing great. We’re very excited about what he’s doing. I said that the other day. I think someone asked me about it. I was standing next to him two days ago at practice, and I didn’t realize how big he was. Wow. Either that or he’s had a really great summer. He’s just really bigger and more physical than I realized and remembered.”

On the depth at offensive line: “There’s just more depth and more guys available to play. There’s more competition which is always a good thing. Guys are making each other stay on the field and play which you’re going to have to do if you want to keep your spot because there’s competition.”

On Sterling Shepard: “Sterling looks really good and is playing hard. You can tell he’s just more mature and stronger. He’s more physical and runs better. He had a really good year a year ago, and I think, as you’ve seen, he can be a guy that can make some really big plays.”

On Damien Williams: “Damien looks good. Like always, he catches the ball so well. He’s taking care of it. He’s doing a good job.”

On DL D.J. Ward’s status: “We’re uncertain. DJ (Ward) is being evaluated for a spleen issue that they’re having to work through right now. We’re unsure where that will lead. We’re uncertain right now where that’s going to be, so he hasn’t been able to practice recently because of the spleen.”

On when DL D.J. Ward’s condition was detected: “We learned of it a few days before we started. The doctors, and he and family are figuring that out, and once we know what that is going to take then we’ll say so.”

On OL Josiah St. John: “He’s working at offensive tackle. He looks pretty good. He’s doing a good job. He’s catching up learning-wise about what all the plays are, but he’s doing a nice job.”

On who is behind Tyrus Thompson on the depth chart: “Not yet. I know Bill (Bedenbaugh) is working through that. Daryl (Williams) and Tyrus (Thompson) can always flip. Derek Farniok is a guy that continues to do well. I’ll just see who Bill feels is in that next position so far.”

Oklahoma Drill highlights from August 5 practice.

On working practice reps with four experienced players at tailback: “It’s not uncommon. We’ve really got more than four. But, you remember a few years ago we had five or six and ended up with two or three in the middle of the year. We had a few that quit because they didn’t like their position on the team, so you never know about situations or injuries. These guys are all doing well, and the number of snaps we get and with the tempo we go at we need a good number of guys to be in there. We’ve got some pretty good ones.”

On DL Chuka Ndulue playing inside: “He’s playing with good technique. He’s playing physical. The quickness in there helps him, so he’s doing a good job.”

On OL Derek Farniok: “Just continue to improve and practice hard and work technique. Derek works hard at it, so he’s doing a really good job.”

On WR Jaz Reynolds: “He’s doing a really good job, nothing electrifying, but he’s doing well.”

On whether Reynolds is earning some playing time: “We’ll see. It’s not easy. A lot of those guys are doing good, so we’ll see if he can earn some playing time.”

On DB Trey Franks working at safety: “He looks much more comfortable. You can tell he finally understands where he needs to be, so I like what Trey is doing. He’s doing a good job in there, and you can tell he’s much more comfortable and sure of himself, and that helps you play better, so he’s showing up.”

On the competition for positions: “It’s fairly intense, and we’re evaluating everything, so players realize that. You’ve got to come to practice and when we do team sessions or scrimmages, whoever proves they can make the most plays the most consistently will get the most playing time, so we’re constantly evaluating.”

On the progress of QB Cody Thomas: “Really good. I’m excited about what Cody is doing. He’s a big, strong athlete. He can make all the throws, he can run. We really like what he’s doing. He’s doing a great job.”

On whether QB Kendal Thompson is attending practice and getting mental reps: “Not yet, but he will be soon. We feel good that Kendal has had a couple of good years, so mentally he’s pretty far along, and hopefully this won’t be too much of a setback for him.”

On when QB Kendal Thompson will be able to attend practice: “Doctors and trainers will determine that, when it’s okay and the swelling is down enough and all that he can get out there to do more of that, and he will.”

On if OL Tyler Evans is at practice and whether he might be available later in the season: “He is. Tyler has been rehabbing and out there helping those guys and helping coach them a little bit. He does a good job of that. If he is back, it would be the back half of the year.”

On the new quality-control hires: “We actually have been short-handed compared to everybody else for a number of years. What they do is more breaking down the opponents’ tapes and cutting them up into different sections with defenses, offenses, whatever. Then diagramming notebooks or diagramming defensive or offensive plays to pass out to the players, so it’s a lot of breaking down tape and diagramming and those types of things to assist the assistant coaches and primarily the coordinators.”

On who was handling those degrees previously: “Not that we weren’t breaking down tape and diagramming, it’s just between the graduate assistants and the quality control guys you’ve got another hand there to help in that regard, so that’s what those guys are doing. We just had basically two graduate assistants on both sides working it (previously).

Wide receiver Jalen Saunders
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 5, 2013

On camp so far: “It’s going well. Camp has opened up real well for us. With all the freshmen out there, everything’s coming along with the offense and the defense. Everything’s exciting. Sooner fans are going to be really excited for this season.”

On losing Kenny Stills and Justin Brown: “Losing Kenny and Justin was really big, but we have a lot of raw talent from freshmen and underclassmen guys for this upcoming year so we’re really wanting to showcase the guys we’ve got in the receiver room.”

On leadership role among wide receivers: “My position kind of changed being in the leadership role this spring and I’ve been coaching these roles, trying to get them better. It’s been a great opportunity getting out there and them working with me and me working with them and they’re critiquing me and I’m critiquing them in the film room and on the field. It’s a great feeling.

Being comfortable in leadership role: “I’m real comfortable in it. I usually speak to my dad about it and he just guides me, telling me what to do, being in that father-type role. I’ve just been real excited.”

On the influence of his dad: “My father plays a big role in my life. He was the first person to put a football in my hand, so I always look up to my father towards anything: school, life, football. It can be anything. I’ve always looked up to him.”

On working as an outside receiver: “I’m working a little bit of everywhere. I’m just testing the waters right now. We’ll see when the season starts where I line up.”

On differences between being inside vs. outside receiver: “It’s just a cornerback and a nickel back, just different coverages. It’s where people line up at, not too much of a difference in the change of slot and outside. You just have to get open. That’s what we do at receiver.”

On Sterling Shepard’s change from freshman to sophomore: “Sterling’s made a big improvement. He’s really matured throughout the spring. He’s picked up on learning coverages and what to do on certain routes. He and I sat down over the spring and went over a lot of things; what coverages and what plays we run. I expect Sterling to have a big year this year.”

On the quarterbacks: “All the quarterbacks look great. Like they said, there’s no starter yet. But all the quarterbacks look great and whoever the starter is, I’m happy for the opportunity they have to be throwing to us.”

On Blake Bell: “Blake Bell’s been looking pretty good, just like all the other quarterbacks. The competition’s going well. I expect everything like I’ve been wanting it to. He’s been coming out and running the ball well and throwing the ball well, just like every other quarterback, so we’ll see when the season rolls around, who the starter is.”

On Blake Bell’s arm: “He has a nice ball, just like every other quarterback we have here. He can throw the deep ball, he can throw it short, and he can throw an intermediate game. He can do it all.”

On getting accustomed to Landry Jones last year and challenges wide receivers have with such situations: “It’s kind of difficult at first with getting the timing down, but once it gets rolling things are pretty good and that’s how it went last season. Hopefully this season, with the fall camp rolling, we’ll have a starter by the end of camp and we’ll all be on time with the passes and routes. We’ll see how everything plays out.”

On if getting used to a new quarterback takes extra work: “Yes it does.”

On the chance the offense will have more running and what it means for wide receivers: “If there’s going to be more running, that’s more blocking for us. We’re a team so if they want to run it, we have to block out for them. If they want to pass, the running backs have to block out for us. Either way, it’s a team thing, so it doesn’t matter what exactly happens. We just want to win.”

On being a go-to receiver: “I consider us all go-to receivers because we can all get open.”

On being a “guy everyone needs to learn from”: “I know a lot because I’ve been in college for four years. I’ve been coaching up these guys in the spring, throughout the summer and even in fall camp so far. Coach Jay [Norvell], I look up to Coach Jay a lot. He’s opened up my eyes since I’ve been here. All these guys we have now, they’re just picking it and up and going.”

On KJ Young and Austin Bennett: “They look pretty good. They’re picking it up. They’re really mature for their age.”

On KJ Young’s game: “KJ’s a real shifty, quick guy, just like Austin [Bennett]. He’s going to bring a lot to the table.”

On Dannon Cavil: “Look for him to be a Justin Brown-type role for this year. He’s a big guy, position receiver. He’s real aggressive with the ball and he’s a really aggressive guy. I really like Dannon and what he brings to the table.”

On being a punt returner: “I always did punt return through Pop Warner and high school. I did it my freshmen year at Fresno State, but I kind of shied away from it my sophomore year. I’m just happy I’m getting the opportunity to play it this year. I really love punt return. It’s something I always did. We’ll see how the season goes with that.”

On why he shied away from being a punt returner: “My sophomore year, we had another guy playing punt return. He plays for the [Kansas City] Chiefs now. He was pretty good at it so they had to give him the opportunity, plus it was his senior year.”

On Coach Jay Boulware: “Yeah, Coach Boulware’s brought a lot of energy into the special teams category for our team. I’m just really excited for what he brings to the table also. He’s really, really high on special teams so that’s going to be a big change for us.”

Thoughts about beginning of camp: “It’s really important. We’ve been sitting out this whole summer just waiting for this opportunity to play for this season. We want to hurry up and get through camp, but we want to take it day-by-day and get better each and every day. I’m just happy we get the opportunity to come out here and play.”

On talking to Kenny Stills and Justin Brown since they’ve been in NFL training camp: “I texted them and told them good luck. I haven’t talked to them that much because we’ve been in camp ourselves, but they told me the same thing. So when I talk to them, I talk to them when I can.”

On Lacoltan Bester: “He’s looking great. Just know this: we’ve got some things going for those two guys this year.”

On having an older player take him under their wing at Fresno State: “Yes, I did: Jamal Hammond.”

On having a role model: “Everybody needs an older person to get in their ear. Of course you’re going to listen to your coach, but you can only listen so much. If you hear from another guy, who’s a little bit older than you, who’s been through the same situation, it’s a different feeling you get.”

On Trey Metoyer’s confidence: “He and I would stay after practice a little longer in the spring. We’ll go on the weekends or we’ll go work in the indoors. We’ll do some extra work. I just want Trey to be the best he possibly can.”

On the pace of offense: “We can slow down, if we need to. I like the fast-paced. It puts pressure on the defense, doesn’t give guys time to set up and it dictates what we’re going to run on offense. Us, what we’re really about here at Oklahoma, is fast-paced, hurry up and set the ball up. Plays in, plays out.”

On defenses adjusting to fast-paced OU offense: “Fast-paced offense tires out the defense. It plays an effect on the offense, but it can play an effect on the defense if we’re scoring too quick. I think our defense we’ll do great this year, but I don’t want to comment too much on them because I want to stay in my lane, keep it on the offense and I think we’ll be doing great this year.”

On Hatari Byrd and other Fresno guys: “I’ve known Hatari [and the Fresno guys] for a long time and they look great out there. My younger brother competed against them so I did know them throughout high school.”

On L.J. Moore: “L.J. is looking great out there.”

On personal goals for this year: “Be better than the last game before. I got personal things I just want to do. I want to score a touchdown every game. That’s my thing. I want to score a touchdown every game. Doesn’t matter how. I just want to get one, at least, a game this year.”

On his punt return for a touchdown last year vs. Oklahoma State: “It was [the highlight of year] in some people’s eyes out here, but I wasn’t too surprised about it because, like I said, I’ve been doing punt return for a long time so I knew, once I got the opportunity to punt return, I was going to probably take one back or at least get a big gain out of it.”

OL Tyrus Thompson
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 5, 2013

On getting back to practice: “Well it has been a lot of hard work we’ve been putting in. Coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh really works us hard and really focuses on us being really physical and tough, so that’s what we’ve been really focusing on.”

On competition in practice: “Battles have been really physical, like I said, just in there just grinding against each other.”

On changes to the physicality of practice and offseason workouts under Coach Bill Bedenbaugh: “I wouldn’t say it’s a complete 180, but I would say that that is the main focus of what we’re doing right now.”

On changes to summer workouts for lineman: “They let us put on weight this year, to get bigger, better for drive blocking, but not so much weight to where we can’t pass block and still move at the pace we want to move at.

On his personal weight gain: “I gained, I think about 12 pounds. So, ya that’s a lot of weight.”

On his current weight: “I am at 319 right now.”

On the benefits of his weight gain: “Yes, I feel a big difference in me in my drive blocking and it’s a lot easier to move people.”

On the impact the returning depth at offensive line, running back, and having a new quarterback will have on the running game: I think we will run the ball a lot more this year and I think it will be a lot better.”

On the importance of controlling the clock with the run game: “It’s important to every lineman to run the ball. That’s what offensive lineman wants to do. No lineman wants to sit back and take a blow from a D-lineman. We want to do the attacking.”

On the improved depth at offensive line: “I would say it’s really good that we have all our guys back. Everybody is getting reps; everyone is understanding it. With all the people being back, everyone knows their assignments. It’s not like you got new guys in there just trying to figure out the plays as we go, it’s guys that are experienced and it just looks really good right now from an O-line standpoint but still a lot of work to do.”

On new junior college lineman coming in and competing for positions: “It’s really good, it makes you compete a lot more because once again it’s not just a little freshman coming in that doesn’t know anything and has a lot to work on, it’s someone that’s been there done that and they come here for a reason.”

On if he has left tackle nailed down: “You know everyone is competing for a job right now so I shouldn’t say that but I do have a lot of confidence in myself.”

On his level of experience having started several games at tackle last season: “I have had a lot of good reps right there, and I would say that experience really does help a lot, but once again every position is a battle right now. No one is handed anything.”

On what he wants to improve on during fall camp to secure a starting position: “Once again I am pretty confident in myself, but there’s always, you can improve everything. No one is perfect in anything, even Joe Staley for the 49ers, as great as he is, I’m sure if you ask him, there’s things that he can improve on. So I would say everything.”

On what he takes away from last year and the experience of playing multiple positions: “One big thing that I learned this year is that if you make a mistake, don’t  hold on to that mistake because it’s going to mess you up for future reps. You let that mistake go and you keep playing, just like they tell [defensive backs]. So that would be the one big thing I took from last year.”

On what goes through his mind this time of year: “Just the whole goal of two-a-days is to get better every single day. Everyday make improvements, watch film, fix the mistakes that you make and just get better every single day.  So that’s the whole goal of two-a-days, but really excited for the season to start.”

On the mentality of the offensive line this year: “The mentality here is to be tough. To finish games, start fast and finish games and just dominate people the best we can.”

On the left tackle position at OU and the success of former players in the NFL draft: “You know I’m just focused on my time here right now, do the best I can here and when that time comes, that time comes. Just taking it day by day.”

On the notoriety of the left tackle position: “Again I am not so much focused on the NFL right now. I’m focused on here at Oklahoma, us winning a national championship, winning all our games.”



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