|| Stills in the Slot
Junior wide receiver Kenny Stills has become as comfortable with playing slot receiver as he has with his unique hairstyle. For OU's opponents, that's a scary thing - his comfort level, that is.
Stills has experimented from the position before, but admitted it didn't previously click for him, something that's becoming less of an issue.
"After the summer and getting to play a little bit last year, I feel like I'm supposed to be in that role," Stills said. "Before, I kind of felt like I was really uncomfortable and didn't know what I was doing. I finally feel like Landry and I are on the same page. I'm happy to be in there and I'm ready to make some plays."
Having a strong rapport with the veteran quarterback is the primary key for success from the slot, according to Stills.
"It's a lot more finding space and really being on the same page with the quarterback," Stills said of the difference between the slot and playing wide. "A guy will be buzzing out, you have to wrap around him and the quarterback has to be comfortable to hit you and know you're going to be there."
For as comfortable as Stills is in the slot, OU head coach Bob Stoops feels just as good about using him there.
"He looks really good in there," Stoops said. "He is quick. I think he has really polished up some of those inside moves that Ryan Broyles was really good at. I think it is coming together for him."
As for the hair?
"We'll see," Stills said. "You never know. I feel like a lot of people would be kind of mad at me if I cut it. I like it and I have fun with it so we'll see where it goes."
|| Nelson, OU Defense Raises Bar
The transition wasn't exactly seamless for junior Corey Nelson and the linebackers. But the more Nelson and his unit listened to linebackers coach Tim Kish, who started in January, the more the successful hire became apparent.
"It's helped me tremendously," Nelson said. "I've been able to grow with Coach Kish throughout the spring until fall. It's an amazing experience to be able to finally accept his coaching and coaching style. It was kind of hard at first, I'm not going to lie, I think for all of the linebackers. Once we understood that we had to cope with it and understand the defense if we wanted to win a national championship and a Big 12 championship, it was important for us to listen to Coach Kish and to understand his concepts.
"I feel like the defense as a whole and the linebacker corps as a whole grew close to Coach Kish, being able to finally buy into what he wanted to give us."
Nelson, who recorded 60 tackles and 8.5 TFLs as a sophomore, said Kish and new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops didn't waste any time placing their stamp on the Sooner defense.
"When Coach Kish and Coach Stoops came in, they had a powerful impact on us," Nelson said. "They wanted a lot of things to get corrected and they had a high standard for us. These coaches came in, directed us, told us what they wanted, gave us a vision and a standard that we needed to be at. Just being under that influence and standard has allowed us to raise our standards high as a defense."
Nelson and the Sooners have used every single day to the fullest to meet those standards. OU wraps up preseason camp with a 9 a.m. date on Owen Field on Friday morning.
"We continue to push ourselves day in and day out," Nelson said. "We've been continuing to push ourselves even though it's getting to the end. We have just been grinding hard and working hard non-stop trying to get better day in and day out."
Junior WR Kenny Stills
"I felt like we only had a few guys go down with injuries. That's been good for us. I'm healthy which is kind of unusual. Guys are out there fighting their tails off for the team. We have better chemistry than ever and we're excited for the season to come."
Junior LB Corey Nelson
"The only thing that's keeping us focused right now is that first game. That's what we look forward to. Another thing is my teammates, us staying healthy, being together, being a strong team and a strong unit, that just drives us to keep on going. We just know there's a long season ahead of us. If we can just compete and give each other the best every day, day in and day out before this camp ends, we'll accomplish our goal for fall camp."
Coach Josh Heupel
"A year more experience (for Adam Shead), understanding what he's doing, and he's further along fundamentally. He played at a really good level a year ago. He has great base, natural leverage, great power, he can roll his hips and has strong hands. He's a guy that can play at an extremely high level here if he continues to push himself and comes with that approach every single day when he straps that helmet on and comes into the meeting room as well. We need him to play at that type of level on the left side."
Junior WR Kenny Stills
"I felt like there was a lot more energy (in the second scrimmage). The guys knew their assignments. They were focused and we could just go out there and play. We weren't thinking as much. I think everybody was a lot more comfortable and a lot more focused."
Senior LB Joseph Ibiloye
"I've gained a lot of weight. I still can move laterally. I feel like I bring versatility to the linebacker corps. We're trying to get that swagger down. When we get that swagger right, it will just build each week and will get better and better."
PRACTICE 18 COVERAGE
Oklahoma scrimmaged for the second time in camp this morning. Check out our coverage:
DBs Work on Wrapping Up
D-Ends Prep for Scrimmage
QBs Warm-up for Scrimmage
DEs Work Pass Situations
Practice 18 Gallery (60 Pics)
16 DAYS TO KICKOFF!
Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is the 16th largest college football venue in the nation (82,112 capacity).
SIRIUSXM VISITS NORMAN
SiriusXM College Sports Nation visited campus today and broadcasted live from the Switzer Center. Check out photos:
Storify: Twitter Coverage
SiriusXM Photo Gallery
SoonerSports.com caught up with senior LB Joseph Ibiloye following Thursday's practice:
Senior LB Joseph Ibiloye
FOLLOWING THE SOONERS
Want the latest on Oklahoma football as fast as you can get it? SoonerSports.com has you covered 24/7. To catch up on the 2012 preseason, check out the links below and follow us on Twitter.
Preseason Practice Central
Sooner Football Notebook