byrd Open Practice Notes

Image via Sooner Sports

Had a chance to catch up with a couple people who were able to take in Thursday’s open practice. And while none of these notes will be of the ‘earth-shattering’ variety, we still wanted to go ahead and share them as OU practice info, even from an open practice fans and media alike were allowed to attend, is at a premium.

* Fans and media got to see about 45 minutes of practice, the last 30 of which the team spent in a semi-scrimmage format. But we’re told the coaches were pretty quick with the whistle, especially on running plays, so there weren’t a ton of “big plays” made. And in addition to the injury issues we’re already familiar with, there were a couple other guys held out just for precautionary reasons, Charles Tapper being the most notable.

* All four of the quarterbacks had their moments, though the only one to throw an interception — which came on the very first play of the ‘scrimmage’ — was Trevor Knight.

* Dakota Austin made said INT and was running with the first team in that starting CB spot opposite Zack Sanchez. But before you go reading too much into that, Stanvon Taylor got plenty of his own time with the 1′s as well.

* Kind of interesting to note Josiah St. John was running first team left tackle.

* As was posted in one of the threads on the site yesterday, Frank Shannon was not involved in the practice/scrimmage but The Oklahoman’s Jason Kersey later confirmed with Tim Kish that it was simply due to an illness. Nothing to worry about.

* KJ Young and Austin Bennett were the two receivers that probably stood out the most, though Derrick Woods did make a nice touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone on a fade route from Knight.

* Justice Hansen also had a TD pass to Taylor McNamara at one point.

* You — and OU opponents — are going to know Hatari Byrd is on the field this year. He knows how to make those pads pop. He may get caught out of position on occasion, but he will be a physical presence in that back end. We had a reader, Dustin Parish, who echoed those sentiments with some thoughts he took away from the Thursday practice that he has shared in the site’s comments section.

“Hatari Byrd was flying around in practice although one time he was out of position and Mike was pretty quick to let him know so.”

* Don’t sleep on Matt Romar at nose guard. Depending on what happens with Jordan Phillips, Romar could be a guy you hear from this year. In a perfect world, he’s still probably a year away. But the coaches really like his development so far and have even been working him in some with the first team defense.


  • Jason Vos

    Which of the receivers played slot and which ones where on the outside?

    • Jordan Esco

      Bennett & Young were in the slot. Smallwood, Woods, and Cavil were on the outside.

      • Jason Vos

        Thanks, what about Neal? Was he practicing inside or outside b4 the injury ?

        • Jordan Esco

          definitely outside

          • Jason Vos

            Do you think any of the new receivers will see playing time, seems stacked already

          • OU_Sooners

            Wouldn’t be surprised to see Mark Andrews play some TE-H if he can block. He seems to be a physical specimen. Also, Dallis Todd has been working it hard this spring. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some flashes of him on the outside. It always helps to have 6’4+ guys on the outside as well as playing the middle. QB would have a big target to throw to, making outside jump balls more of a thing.

          • Zack

            I think Todd has a chance to be special. He’s been working with a lot of pros so he could have a big spring. And smallwood may not be as tall but 6’2 is pretty good size for a college receiver.

          • OU_Sooners

            Yeah, I was thinking about Smallwood as I was writing that post. Dude could definitely play the outside, especially because of his blocking. Seems to be the most physical of the bunch. Kid is jacked.

          • Zack

            Yeah hopefully this team can air the ball out and look a lot like the 2008 team.

          • OU_Sooners

            well, OU’s usually aired it out pretty well. Don’t forget that they also had two 1000 yard rushers on those teams; between Chris Brown and Demarco Murray.

          • wolfbuilder

            Mark wont play any TE-H at least for the first year or 2, he made it clear he wanted to be a wr not TE. I would love to see them put about 30 pounds on him and make him a TE but he was recruited as a wideout

          • OU_Sooners

            I’m sure he made it clear that he wanted to be a WR. I’m also sure that Stoops told him that he could have whatever number he wanted as well. Keep in mind that coaches will say many things to get a kid to campus and then do some different things once they’re in Norman. Jermaine Gresham was 6’7 and 230, Mark is 6’6 and 225. It’s very possible that he could play some H as a pass catcher. He’d need to gain 30 pounds to play the Y, but he would fit as an H.

          • wolfbuilder

            Sorry not trying to start an argument but some coach will say one thing and do another but bob a has always done what he said by recruits remember ryan Broyles, how bout demarco murray both were recruited to play CB but said they wanted to play another spot so bob said alright, here is one Justin Johnson, brent wanted him at LB while recruiting him so bob let him play rb then after that season said he need to move but gave him a chance at that pos

          • OU_Sooners

            Yeah, you’re right. Under Stoops, players have never ended up at a position & jersey # other than what they initially wanted when the kids stepped on campus.

          • wolfbuilder

            I never said jerseys but he has always gave the players a shot at the pos before making them move and if u have any proof other wise please inform me

          • OU_Sooners

            OU has plenty of athletes at WR, but none of them are over 6’4 besides Dannon Cavil.

          • Jason Vos

            Mark Andrews and Jeffery Mead are over 6’4.

          • OU_Sooners

            They’re not on campus yet.

          • Bennie Owen

            Todd putting in work tho….saw a bunch of pics from his workouts on twitter… i think he even worked out with Kenny Stills in a session. He;s not looking to ride the pine, and is a hell of an athlete.

          • OU_Sooners

            It depends on how fast he picks up the offense/routes/etc. If any of the young players see action, they’ll get quite a few looks considering the amount of coverage that will be on Shepard/Neal/possibly Bennett

          • Bennie Owen

            true. What we can take from this….Norvell is the man, every year he brings in the best talent…..got the skill positions locked down, and then some.

          • SoonerKevin

            In the Sugar Bowl, after Saunders scored his first TD, he went to the bench and they showed Romar standing on the bench celebrating. The Guys arms looked Huge.

  • Daryl

    Excited about Austin and Byrd! Would really nice to have found a diamond in the rough with aromatic as well. I would like to hear a better report on Knight. Not that one pick is end of world but would like to hear more of he is standing out amongst the QB’s not just had some moments.

    • Jordan Esco

      I hear ya. Defense is going to make plays just b/c of recognition from having worked against the offense so many times and knowing what is coming.

  • Danny Webb

    It is hard not to get to excited about this squad. I have to keep reminding myself, it is only Spring Practice…… But man, this defense is beginning to look like a shut down, slobber-knocking, look out! D

    • Jordan Esco

      Has the potential to be really, really special, IMO.

  • John Garner

    Thanx TFB! Always good stuff.

  • Cardinal8

    I have read a lot that seems the Offense is having trouble keeping the ball at times. That is one thing I will really be looking for in the Red/White game tomorrow!

  • Jim

    Regarding JStJ at LT: I saw one of Stoops’ recent interviews after practice. He mentioned a number of OL guys were being held out right now for precautionary measures, so a lot of the other rotational/backup/younger guys were getting a lot more snaps. So I wouldn’t read too much into JStJ just yet; despite my belief that he’d be a starter at most other Big12 schools right now.

    • Jordan Esco

      That’s true. But Farniok wasn’t one of them and had been running w/ the 1′s at LT previously. Obviously when Thompson comes back the job is his, so this means very little but it was more about hearing so little re: St. John thus far.

      • Jason Vos

        Is St John a junior or senior?

        • Jordan Esco

          Right now I believe he’s listed as a senior, but they’ve applied for a redshirt to try and get him another year.

          • Shifty

            Getting that redshirt is going to mean a lot for depth if we can have him in 15…I’m hoping Grant will be up to weight by then to help with that depth as well

          • Jim

            Yeah, getting JStJ for ’15 would be huge.

        • Shifty

          First I’ve seen of him was 11 at Fresno juco…so technically he should be able to go thru 15 making him a redshirt junior but he’s listed as a senior like Jordan says…didn’t think he played last year so I don’t know why they’d have to apply for the redshirt

  • SoonerPhins

    Any reports on how the OLine was doing as a whole? I know some key guys are missing, but I would like to see the 2nd and 3rd stringers play at the same level/intensity. Need to get that run game going.

  • SoonerPhins
  • http://batman-news.com StorminNorman

    Hanson threw the TD to McNamara not Mayfield and Knight’s INT was on Woods and he admitted as much after practice.

    • Shelby is a Patriot

      Hansen*

      • http://batman-news.com StorminNorman

        Correct haha my bad on the mispell but the information is correct.

        • Jordan Esco

          Whoops, much obliged for the correction, sir

  • Sooner Ray

    Any Shannon sightings?

    • Jordan Esco

      When? Yesterday? There was a note included that he was out b/c he was sick.

      • Sooner Ray

        I get busy in the spring and have been out of the loop. Thought I seen somewhere that he wasn’t seen at the “student practice”. Just wondering since it became a topic a while back.

  • bmrsnr

    How big is Romar? The roster has him at 6’0 280, is that accurate?

    • Super Keith

      I’m sure he’s heavier now. Chuka was listed as 282, and he said in a recent interview that he is about 293-295. Not sure when they’ll update the roster.