Post Practice | Monday Night, August 12th
– James Hale
*** OU began their second week of training camp in shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets on Monday night. They worked out inside Gaylord Memorial Stadium and had a lot of team competition late into the night until around 9:30 PM.
*** Projected starting left tackle Erik Swenson (6’5, 317) and senior defensive tackle Dillon Fammatau (6’3, 290) were held out of practice with minor injuries.
*** Redshirt sophomore defensive end/rush end Jalen Redmond (6’3, 264) did suit up and go through workouts. They are still taking it slow with Redmond thus far in camp but there is plenty of time to ramp him up. He looks good going through drills.
*** Junior Jordan Parker (5’11, 180) was back at workouts, which is good for him because he’s battling senior Parnell Motley (6’0, 178) and junior Tre Brown (5’10, 185) for playing time.
*** With Swenson running on the sideline junior Finely Felix (6’5, 314) worked at left tackle along with redshift sophomore Marquise Hayes (6’5, 332) and junior Creed Humphrey (6’5, 315) at guard and center. Tyrese Robinson and senior R.J. Proctor (6’4, 337) worked at right guard and sophomore Adrain Ealy (6’6, 326) was working right tackle.
*** Sophomore Kennedy Books (5’11, 209) is back and going through workouts and looks good running around. The goal this season is to save the hits on Brooks and junior Trey Sermon (6’0, 221) in training camp which gives T.J. Pledger (5’9, 195), Marcus Major (5’11, 211) and Rhamondre Stevenson (6’0 232) ample time to show what they can do.
*** We had a chance to talk with Sooner defensive coaches and players
*** Alex Grinch says he continues to be pleased with the by-in of his players at camp. He says the defense needs to continue to develop as a unit and that all positions groups should be saying great things about the other positions groups because they all need to have each other’s backs for this defense to work.
*** Coach Grinch said he and his coaches are preaching playing fast and flying around and that if they make a mistake they need to make it fast. He said he and his coaches are yelling all the time for them to run, go fast and fly around.
*** Coach Grinch said playing against the OU offense is a huge advantage for the defense if they handle it the right way because they see so much offense from them every day. He’s pleased with the front seven because it’s getting after the offense every day and trying to create a different attitude for the defense.
*** Coach Grinch keeps ‘strip attempts ’ counts on his defense and that is how many legitimate strip attempts do his defenders attempt every day in the practice to try to get the ball away from the offense. He said that right now they are up to 400 after nine practices in and the goal is to have 1,000 by the time OU plays Houston on September, 1st. He wants 40 strip attempts a day.
*** Coach Grinch says to get more interceptions in the secondary players have to maintain eye control and players have to make sure their eyes are where they belong. This camp, secondary guys have been a lot more fundamental looking back for the ball and it has made a difference with defenders knocking down more passes than in past years. Each player has to believe that they can and will make a play and come up with the interception.
*** Coach Grinch feels the fact that the defensive line is not lined up against the man but in the gaps allows them to attack and allows them to play more violently at the point of attack. He said the defensive line is getting into the backfield and getting TFLs in this camp but have to become even more aggressive.
*** Coach Grinch says it has been a big asset to have veteran Coach Ruffin McNeill in the coaching room. He says that Coach McNeill always has a big-picture view of things and it helps him and the rest of coaches to always remember that the big picture is the what is important.
*** Coach Grinch says he is now down on the field on game day because it allows him to communicate with his players better and it gives him a better feel of what is going on in the game. He said in the press box the game has a video game feel to it, and he just felt he was better served down on the field.
*** At safety, sophomores Patrick Fields (5’11, 196) and Delarrin Turner-Yell (5’10, 193) have established themselves at this point in the camp as starters and all other contenders are running number two and need to step it up to really get into the competition. Right now he says that Fields and Turner-Yell are the only two guys he has confidence in playing.
*** Coach Grinch says the veteran defensive guys like Neville Gallimore and Kenneth Mann have been key in the defensive transition to the new staff and philosophy. He said as soon as they bought into the defensive philosophy the rest of the defense followed because they lead by example and the other players always notice what the experienced guys are dong.
*** He pointed out that last year OU went into the fourth quarter six times with the game in a one-possession game type situation and five times OU came out the winner so the guys that played last year did have some success.
*** Coach Grinch says right now those that make decisions to hire head coaches are looking for offensive coaches and he understands that, but he believes as defensive coaches continue to bust their butts all over the country to match up and stop some of the offenses that are doing so well that more and more defensive coaches will get noticed. He said he’s not looking to leave OU but he does have goals to be a head coach someday and he feels coming to a program like OU will help him and the other defensive coaches on the staff reach those goals.
*** Coach McNeill says that Coach Grinch reminds him of Coach Lincoln Riley as that certain coaches just have it and really believe in what they want to do as a coach and what they want to teach. Once they have success with what they are coaching then it just grows and they become more confident in it.
*** Coach McNeill says that Jon Michael-Terry is doing a great job and right now would be the starter at ‘Rush End’. He is getting pushed by Nic Bonnito and if he continues to push and continues to get better he will play on Saturday’s.
*** Freshman David Ugwoegbu is another that is pushing for playing time and he does like his length (6’4, 232). He says length is really important for the ‘Rush End’ position and they look for players with some height because that position demands it.
*** Coach McNeill says the ‘Rush End’ needs a very versatile player because they have to be able to do so many things in the defense and that this is the position that schematically keeps the offense honest. The offense never knows what that guy is going to do.
*** Coach Roy Manning says his corners are really competing at camp and that he’s been pleased with their effort and how hard they are competing.
*** Coach Manning says the veteran guys that he has in Brown, Motley, and Parker are fighting through things really well but his young guys have hit the wall a bit and are working to fight through it. He said Miguel Edwards is having a good camp and that freshman Jaden Davis and Woodi Washington are coming on. He likes his depth and feels they are all going to have to play on the defense and on special teams.
*** Coach Manning feels Parker is really locked in and having a great camp.
Rest In Peace Mike Gaddis
The OU Football family was rocked yesterday when they learned that legendary running back Mike Gaddis had passed away at the age of 50. OU Co-Offensive Coordinator and Inside Receiver Coach Cale Gundy was the quarterback at OU for Gaddis’s senior year and watched him rush for 1,344-yards and 17-touchdowns after taking a year off to rehab for a major knee injury (ACL).
“The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Mike the player is just smooth,” said Coach Gundy. “Here’s a guy that was 6’2, 225 pounds that could run a 4.4. He had great hands, I mean, he had unbelievable talent. As much of a talent as we’ve had around this place considering all the great running back in the history that we’ve had here, his talent matched any of those.”
Gaddis finished his career with 2,276-yards and 30-touchdowns averaging 6.15-yards per carry from 1988-91 but it was off the field that the players loved being around Gaddis.
“You know, Mike was just one of the nicest guys,” said Gundy. “He always had a smile on his face, just real easy, relaxed and calm. Me, myself he called me quarterback. That was my name. I would hear quarterback and Mike would just have a smile on his face. He was a great teammate and a great person, and he’ll be missed.”
Gaddis had to come back from a major knee injury back in the day when the medical profession didn’t really know how to come back from such an injury. Gaddis took an entire year off to come back from an ACL tear in 1991.
“It’ was tough,” said Coach Gundy. “Any time you go through injuries like that, it’s hard. You know, he was going to have a great career. He had a great career, but the sky was the limit for him, a guy that real easily could have won the Heisman, could have been the best player in the country. So, to come back in 91 and have a great season, was pretty neat.”
Gaddis was born in Oklahoma in Midwest City and played at Carl Albert High School, while Gundy was crosstown and played at Midwest City High School, and coming out of high school Guindy knew how good Gaddis really was.
“There is no doubt,” said Coach Gundy. “And, again, you’re at Oklahoma. There’s been so many great players come through here, so many national award winners, guys that have gone on to the NFL, but Mike Gaddis could have been one of the very, very best. If he could have stayed healthy, there’s no telling what could have happened with him.
“He was just different. Again, he was 6’2, 225 pounds and run a 4.4. I mean, He’s a guy that could play out in space and could catch the ball. He could do anything. He was a great kick returner. He was just a special player on and off the field.”
The Sooners nation has been rocked by this news as yesterday they lost one of their all-time greats and one of their most respected players.
Sourced Notes | Saturday Team/Scrimmage
– The Football Brainiacs
*** The Sooners had a long team session: the estimate was that it was over 100 plays.
*** Heard both sides played well and if it had been a real game it would have been something along the lines of a 31-28 game.
*** Not unexpectedly, we were told the best position group was the Sooners starting wide receivers of CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo and Grant Calcaterra who made a number of big plays in the scrimmage. Sounds like Lamb was a man among boys as he stiff-armed Patrick Fields going into the end zone for one score which just shows how big and physical he really is because Fields had him covered on the play.
*** Was told Trejan Bridges is going to be a blue-blood star. He is just tough to handle for the secondary.
*** Sounds like the good news is that it wasn’t as if the secondary guys weren’t in a position to make plays or a tackle. They fundamentally are so much better but at times the wide receiver group, and that includes some the other guys, the freshman as well, that they just made a play even though there was coverage.
*** As you may have seen on Twitter, Tre Brown did get a pick but we are told that was in seven-on-seven drills and we don’t know who threw it.
*** The surprising thing about the defense on this night from what we hear is that they didn’t get any picks in the game setting but they did get their hands on a couple of throws.
*** From what we have heard, even though the defense got some stops and made some plays they didn’t create a lot of turnovers on the day which is a good thing for the offense but we know that is not what Coach Grinch is looking for.
*** Was told there’s a difference in the way that Jalen Hurts plays the game over Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler and a team session like this will benefit him more than the other two. His maturity and leadership factors are always present. He needs to get all the teamwork he can get because he’s in a new system and trying to get comfortable with it.
*** The wow factor at quarterback was Spencer Rattler. When he throws the ball he excites people. And from what we are told, the three QBs all got their fair share of reps with the ones.
*** At linebacker, sounds like they still have some guys banged up and Kenneth Murray didn’t play. Was told Levi Draper got a ton of reps at the MIKE and played well. Continue to hear is having a very good camp. Sounds like Brian Mead is still nursing a hamstring and that has been a big plus for Draper. Sounds as if DaShaun White and Brian Asamoah got most of the reps at the WILL and we do not believe Ryan Jones played.
*** Was told Jon Michael-Terry is running with the ones at the Rush End and looks very good. His athletic ability really plays well there and he had a good night getting pressure on the quarterbacks. Looks like he is finally getting a chance to play and is taking advantage of it.
*** We were told Jalen Redmond also scrimmaged some and worked some at the Rush End. Sounds like he has been doing both standing up and putting his hand in the dirt in camp. They are beginning to get him going a little bit in camp.
*** The guys we talked about on one our of Friday reports competed in the offensive line. From the sounds of it, they had a pretty good day as we were told Trey Sermon and T.J. Pledger had some big runs, and it sounds as if Freshman Marcus Majors is also impressing this camp and his speed and quickness is showing up in camp.
*** Was told the battle between the offensive line and defensive line was pretty intense and got chippy at times. Hearing Marquis Hayes is becoming a very vocal player and has been throughout camp. Coach Bedenbaugh pointed out that he’s trying to become a good leader in the offensive line the other day.
*** As we have mentioned, Jordan Parker is beginning to make a move at corner. Hearing he has played very well at camp since moving back there and is playing with a purpose and a desire to play. Was told Parker didn’t play much in the scrimmage because of a tender hamstring, but he has been good in camp. He is a father now and it has him refocused with the huge desire to get on the field.
*** Was told It was a solid day for Tre Brown and Parnell Motley but again the receivers just made some big plays in the scrimmage but the corners use proper technique, looked for the ball in the air and made some plays.
*** Sounds like the defense tackled pretty well in the scrimmage but OU has a ton of offensive skill and they are going to be a load for anybody this year.
*** Apparently from what we have been told they rotated a bunch of guys in at safety and all of them got the same amount of reps. Was told Patrick Fields and Delarrin Turner-Yell are running with the ones with Roberts Barnes, Justin Broiles and Jamal Morris backing them. Again, from what we have been told, all five played a bunch and competed well but had their hands full against the wide receiver corps of the Sooners. The safety position is still very much up in the air.
*** At the Nickel we were told Brendon Radley-Hiles and Chanse Sylvie both got equal reps with the ones at and that has developed into a pretty good battle.
*** A positive sign from what we were told is that without question there was a lot more energy on defense and the defense had guys flying around. This is an attack defense and it’s helped energize the defense. Sounds like they were more competitive in this scrimmage than the last couple of years and that showed throughout the team session.
*** Not a lot on special teams but it sounds like Gabe Brkc did a good job kicking the ball and making his kicks and Reeves Mundchau looks like he is going to be a good punter.
*** Of note, it does sound like there is a different attitude on defense in that the coaches coach and the players play. If the coaches say something to a player, even if it is something negative, that player does not talk back to the coaches. For the most part, the coaches are positive even when they are correcting a player and the players love that style of coaching. Over the last two years, players often talked back to the coaches and the two groups got into a cussing fight at practice. That’s not happening anymore as the coaches are definitely the authority figures and the players are players and there’s a ton of respect for each other on the field.
*** With the defensive line slanting on every play and guys moving on defense on every play the offense will hit some big plays when assignments are not done correctly on defense or the offense is just so good that they take advantage of the slant and the movement. So last night it sounds like the defense made a few plays and got some touches on the quarterback but the offense hit it just right on a few plays and had some big plays.
*** In Sermon’s three years at OU, he has worked tirelessly on his body and his conditioning and from the sound of it, it is paying off as we are told he is a faster player this year. He has made himself into a better football player at OU. So has Pledger and along with Major they ran the ball well, but it appears that Sermon will once again but a primetime player in the backfield for the Sooners.
Snippet from | Hot as Hale Weekend Notebook | DL Discussion
– James Hale
*** It has been pointed out many times since Grinch took over the defense that the guys up front are going to be playing a different brand of football in 2019.
*** “This year the guys have to be getting sacks and for guys to earn playing time they will have to show some production,” said Thibodeaux. “You’re going to have to make plays. What we were doing before we were playing blocks, building a wall, and that was considered good. We were using our hands and controlling two gaps and this is a little different. We now have to produce and it’s not about just being in a gap you have to find the football. There’s a big emphasis in this defense of getting to the ball and that’s just as much for our guys as any other position on defense.”
*** “Our group, our guys, are excited about playing in this defense. That’s easy to sell to a recruit. Guys will get an opportunity to get to the football in this defense. They’re excited about it and it has been a smooth transition so far. I’m really proud of the guys because they are working their butts off and they have bought all in.”
*** What Coach Grinch wants up front is a group that is interchangeable that the coaches can mix and match depending on down and distance and opponent each week. At times, they will want bigger guys on the field and you will have two big defensive tackle types on the field at the same time and a third or fourth guy rotating in, or at times they will only have one of those guys with two defensive end types and a Rush End on the field.”
*** This group will always be slanting and moving around as well as it’s a concept that works at the point of attack by confusing the offensive line and letting the talent of the defensive line come through.”
*** I hope this help explain how the defensive line might line up. Right now, you know that Gallimore, Faamatau, Overton, senior Kenneth Mann (6’3, 269) (when healthy), Perkins, Redmond, Stokes, and Thomas all figure to get major playing time and Stripling and Robertson are fighting to break through. Jordan Kelly is trying to get healthy and Coach Thibs likes freshman Marcus Hicks (6’5, 268) but he will probably redshirt this year as Roberson and Stripling might as well with the four game rule.
*** Mann is recovering from shoulder surgery and is expected to miss a couple of games but he appears to be ahead of schedule to return.
*** Throw in the guys at Rush End in Michael-Terry, Jackson Jr., Bonitto and Ugwoegbu and every sign points to the OU defense line coming of age and having a big year in 2019.
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