In a winding, 50-minute session on Monday afternoon, Bob Stoops addressed the media on the eve of spring practice number one. Stoops took questions about early enrollees, returning faces, drunken quarterbacks and even a walk-on fullback with a famous name. Here are some of the highlights:
- Stoops mentioned early enrollees right out of the gate. Stoops said late start for spring ball was partially to give those players more time with training staff.
- He complimented “the last two senior classes” for working in temporary facilities while the stadium was under construction. “I just want them to know how much the program appreciates them for that sacrifice.”
- Stoops said that Rodney Anderson is ready to go, but the team will still be cautious with him during spring ball and won’t let him be tackled. He said Anderson could play now if necessary. “We will intentionally limit Rodney.”
- Steven Parker and Obo Okoronkwo will be held out of spring ball after offseason surgeries. Marcelias Sutton has a stress fracture.
- Stoops was asked if Marquise Brown is really 148 pounds. “I think so,” he said. “I don’t really care.” Said Mark Clayton was about that size when he enrolled. “We won’t ask him to kick out any linebackers.”
- Stoops detailed how Kyler Murray will handle the spring football and baseball schedule. He said Lincoln Riley is working with Pete Hughes to coordinate schedules. “I’m a firm believer that if God’s blessed someone with the talent to do something else, to go ahead and use that talent.” Murray is expected to return to the diamond soon after missing a few weeks with a hamstring issue.
Expected to practice with football team Tuesday, then available again for baseball next weekend in Waco. https://t.co/4oVvZHzMh8— Toby Rowland (@TRowOU) March 19, 2017
- When finally asked about Baker, Stoops said: “Very disappointed that Baker put himself in that situation. As you know, it’s still ongoing, so we won’t determine anything until it’s complete.” Said Baker will practice normally and the team will make a determination when investigation is complete. Stoops basically refused to answer a follow-up question on his initial reactions to arrest, video.
- On Abdul Adams: “He’s had a good winter. We’ll see when we get on the field, that’s a different story.” Said Adams looks “stronger and faster than he was.”
- On receiving corps: “I like them. I believe as the year went on, you saw more guys making plays.” Mentioned Dede Westbrook’s junior year and the giant leap he took the following season. “We’ve got quite a few guys who will make more plays this year.”
- Was asked about Jeffrey Mead and called him “a guy who’s really in position to make more plays.” Also mentioned Jordan Smallwood, Dahu Green, A.D. Miller by name.
- Stoops said he thinks the team can be successful with a group of strong receivers as opposed to just one go-to guy. “If you have a really strong corps of receivers it can be different guys in different games,” he said. Said sometimes one guy just emerges and stands out, and current group will have that chance.
- Reaffirmed move to 4-man front. “We just feel we can get, hopefully, a little more base pressure.” Said he will “sprinkle in” odd-man fronts when necessary.
- Stoops said the team is looking at both Ricky DeBerry and Kapri Doucet at inside linebacker.
- He said the move to a four-man front was motivated more by strategy than personnel. Said the guys on campus could run either scheme.
- Mentioned Marcelias Sutton specifically when asked about the return game. Said running backs and wideouts will all get looks.
- On early enrollees: “All these guys, the fact that they’re going to be here for the next 15 practices is a huge deal. They’ll all be ready to play.
- On FS Will Sunderland, SS Kahlil Haughton: “They’re all in a position where they need to make a jump, and I believe they will.” Said Sunderland will play free safety, will “have to be more accountable with his mental assignments.”
- On Jon-Michael Terry: “He’s had a great year ... He’ll be battling for that Mike linebacker spot. A big, physical guy.” Said Terry could have played last year if necessary.
- Stoops said he voted for Big 12 to play a 1 vs. 2 title game instead of going to divisions. “I think it’s great, really.” He said playing title game rematch will be a positive “more often than not.”
- Compared Grant Calcaterra to Mark Andrews and said he has a chance to take very similar path. “Love the athlete that he is,” he said. “That’s why we recruited him.”
Stoops cites keeping staff around as the biggest reason for the #Sooners' recruiting gains.— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) March 20, 2017
- Confirmed that Gabriel Campbell has retired, partially due to recurring concussion issues.
- Stoops said Will Johnson is fully healthy and will play both nickel and safety.
- Stoops spent a few minutes answering questions about his long tenure, as has become customary at these offseason pressers. He’s now lived in Norman even longer than he lived in Youngstown growing up. He said he feels like an Oklahoman now, “No doubt.”
- Joe Castiglione, Jr. will walk on as a fullback. He was formerly a student assistant. “It’s been great. He’s been awesome.”
OU’s first spring practice is tomorrow, March 21. The spring game is on April 8.