The 40-degree windchill couldn’t stop 52,102 Sooner fans from making their way to Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon and shattering Oklahoma’s spring game attendance record. The weather had an obvious impact on the game, as those 52,102 cold fans were forced to watch Team (Adrian) Peterson and Team (Trent) Williams put up a whopping six total points in the first half before having to head to “overtime” to settle it. You read that correctly, the daggum spring game went to overtime.
Eventually, Team Peterson scraped out a 10-9 victory in OT, but the team wouldn’t head to the locker room for halftime just yet. In what was undoubtedly the coolest play of the day, 15 year old James Woods, who suffers from a rare brain tumor that prevents him from playing sports, got a chance to take one to the house.
What a cool moment. Props to OU and whoever worked to set that up. It was certainly a moment that nobody in attendance, especially James Woods will ever forget. That moment more than made up for the very boring two quarters of football that preceded it.
Here are a couple of other cool moments from the day:
Obviously you don’t want to blow anything from the spring game out of proportion. I remember my 12-year-old self attending the 2007 spring game and walking away thinking Keith Nichol should start over Sam Bradford. A cautionary tale that I tell you to remind you that I am dumb and you should never trust anything I say. With that being said, here are my three biggest takeaways from today’s game.
Bookie is going to be good. Like... really good.
Everyone knew that Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles was going to be an impact player in Norman, we just weren’t sure it would be this soon. Bookie, the No. 38-ranked recruit in the class of 2018 per 247Composite, was everywhere on Saturday. He was breaking up passes, sacking the quarterback and making open-field tackles seemingly every play. It appears Mike Stoops is going to utilize Bookie primarily at nickel back, which will give him the ability to drop in coverage while occasionally being used as a pass rusher as we saw several times on Saturday. OU hasn’t had a player with his kind of versatility on defense in quite some time, and he is going to be a problem for opposing offenses for the next few years.
Austin Kendall is... fine
While OU’s starting quarterback battle hasn’t been officially decided yet, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that it will be Kyler Murray taking the first snap against Florida Atlantic in the opener. The only obstacle that could possibly get in the way of Kyler’s coronation as the starter is Austin Kendall. Kendall, who is best known for talking trash on Ohio State’s defense before OU’s game against the Buckeyes in 2016, is obviously a long shot to land the starting gig, but a monster performance on Saturday could have gone a long way toward helping his case. He didn’t do that, but he also wasn’t terrible. He finished with an unofficial stat line of 10-17 passing for 109 yards, 0 TDs (unless you count the one in overtime, which I don’t) and 1 INT. His best throw of the day was a deep strike to CeeDee Lamb on the opening drive, but boy oh boy was that interception a bad one.
In Kendall’s defense, the weather certainly did not do him any favors. Kyler Murray didn’t play particularly well either, but he has a larger body of work overall and is more of a threat as a runner. I don’t think today moved the needle for either QB in a starting battle, honestly. Also... THE WIND! I don’t think either QB with going to come close to lighting it up anyway with the gusts were were seeing out there.
Kennedy Brooks made some noise
The past two decades have trained me to trust that OU will always have an endless stream of skill players every year, no matter how many good players they lose from the previous season. Bob Stoops seemed to have a knack for getting the most out of his offensive talent, and Lincoln Riley seems to be continuing that practice. Redshirt freshman Kennedy Brooks will spend most of the fall battling for snaps in a backfield headlined by Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon, but he certainly turned some heads with his performance today. Brooks’ speed and agility make him a valuable weapon for the Sooners on offense, and he will almost definitely be utilized in the game plan this season.