With less than four months separating now and the end of the 2018 season, the Oklahoma Sooners are back with the return of OU’s annual Spring Game. With less-than-favorable weather conditions in the forecast, what was originally scheduled for a Saturday afternoon spot has been moved up to tonight. Nevertheless, it figures to be a major treat for the fans, and an important showcase for all ‘20 and ‘21 recruits in attendance.
Two words: NIGHT GAME
OU Spring Game Kickoff: Friday, April 12 - 7:30 p.m. CT at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, Okla.)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland announcing
Parking and clear bag policy info:
Important information for Friday's @OU_Football Spring Game:— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) April 11, 2019
Gates open at 5:30
#ArriveSooner to avoid lines
️ Map below
From LNC starting at 4:00
Clear bags only
More ➡️ https://t.co/QFkEMNcarh pic.twitter.com/FsDHSlW2ze
Jalen Hurts - After three seasons as a leader for the Alabama Crimson Tide, the grad transfer quarterback comes to Norman for one final year of college football glory. In Tuscaloosa he’s a beloved hero, and now he’s attempting to become all that and more at OU. He’s had multiple QB coaches throughout his career, but none with the pedigree that Lincoln Riley brings to the equation. With back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners and possibly repeating No. 1 overall picks, if anybody can maximize Hurts’ potential, it’s the third year head coach from Muleshoe, Texas. All eyes will be squarely on him Friday night, and as the favorite to win the starting job, a lot will be expected from him, even in a glorified practice setting.
And yes, he lifts.
Defense, defense, defense. After basically hitting rock bottom last season, the Sooners and Mike Stoops parted ways halfway through the fall. Ruffin McNeill stepped into the DC position on an interim deal, but Riley knew a permanent replacement needed to be found.
In comes Alex Grinch, a young coach with an aggressive yet meticulous approach to the game. Since he was hired, he hasn’t pulled any punches when assessing the poor state of the defense he’s inherited. A culture change was needed, and so far Grinch is addressing that need for change head-on, one practice at a time. Friday night will be fans’ first substantial look at some of the changes that are on the way, as well as the areas of emphasis, such as forcing turnovers and just plain old effort.
Five-star receivers. Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease all enrolled early this spring semester after coming in as possibly the highest rated group of receivers ever signed in the same recruiting cycle. By all accounts, each of them have looked the part so far, but living up to their lofty billing can’t truly be measured until the games start to matter. Still, they’re doing the little things right, and on Friday night at the OU Spring Game, fans will finally be able to see what they can do with tens of thousands watching. (Note: Haselwood has dealt with a very minor ankle issue, so they may choose to sit him as s simple precaution).
The O-line. Redshirt sophomore center Creed Humphrey (who’s been out this spring) will eventually return after an outstanding first season as a starter up front. That much is known. What isn’t known is which four players will surround him on Aug. 31 for the 2019 season opener. Bobby Evans, Cody Ford, Ben Powers and Dru Samia made up four-fifths of last season’s Joe Moore Award winning offensive line, but each of them are now finished at OU and are in pursuit of NFL careers.
Fortunately, the Sooners have recruited the offensive trenches well over the years, and O-line coach Bill Bedenbaugh continues to prove why he’s one of the top assistants in the FBS with nothing but results to show for it. Additionally, experienced and talented guard R.J. Proctor arrives this summer, which is sure to put some minds at ease. Still, the question marks will remain until each guard and tackle spot is solidified. These battles will likely carry over into the fall, but the Spring Game should be a decent glimpse of who’s more ready at this stage of the offseason. We’ll also see where people are aligned. Brey Walker and Darrell Simpson have both been working at guard, so it’s clear that Bedenbaugh isn’t afraid to tinker with things.
I asked #Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley how the young, talented offensive line has progressed and played so far. Riley called it “interesting” with a smirk, due to leader Creed Humphrey being out.— Brandon Drumm (@BrandonDrumm247) March 12, 2019
He expanded on that too: pic.twitter.com/P0O4jN2XPc
Beer served in the stadium!
I'm told this has been part of the "pilot program" that was put in place last fall, which means beer will be sold.— George Stoia III (@GeorgeStoia) April 11, 2019
Here are the options they had during basketball season:
Fat Tire (Belgium)
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