August 4, 2006

Practice Report: Day One

The last 24 hours have seen a whirlwind of activity at Oklahoma. Isn't it nice to come to a place that cares as much about what happens on the field as they do what's going on off of it?

The Sooners hit the practice fields for the first time today after months of waiting. It was indeed the first day of official practices at OU. I'm sure no one else cares to tell you or cared to actually watch what was happening at practice, but we certainly did.

It was indeed a magical day watching newcomers such as Jermaine Gresham, Gerald McCoy and Brandon Walker take the field as Sooners for the first time. It was great to see slight changes in the depth chart such as Keenan Clayton starting at strong safety over Jason Carter.

It was also nice to see a group of massive offensive lineman take the field for the first time together. That seven member M.A.S.H. unit from the spring is now gone. Joining the big uglies were players such as Brandon Walker, Corey Bailey, Trent Williams and Chase Beeler.

And Marcus Walker was back and healthy making a big splash in the defensive secondary.

"He looked fabulous," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables of Walker.

In fact, the entire secondary looks to be light years ahead of where this unit was just a year ago.

"Coach Wright made some comments earlier today before we got out on the field and we talked personnel in-depth after seeing these guys for the last day and it's really apparent that we're getting the depth we were used to before," Venables continued. "We have a lot of guys that have tremendous, tremendous talent and athletic ability and explosiveness."

Reggie Smith, D.J. Wolfe, Darien Williams and Clayton all took their spots among the starters on defense. And Walker, Nic Harris and Brian Jackson all appear capable and ready to challenge for spots on the field during two-a-days.

And Venables is salivating at the possibilities he sees with such a talented group on defense.

"Guys that don't like being No. 2 and don't like being a starter - if you don't like where you're at, then change it. It's about attitude and effort and not much more than that," said Venables. "It's no more complex than that. There's no excuse to not know what to do, not no technique and different coverages and different blitzes to use and different alignments to have. That takes no talent. Don't hurt yourself before you ever get lined up. Competing every single snap while you're on this field."

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