Oklahoma held their annual spring game yesterday and compared to previous years, it was actually exciting. It wasn’t just the the Sooners had quite a few new names take the field for the first time. The team went full-contact with a surprising amount of physicality and with a crowd of nearly 44,000. . . it was a pretty good time for fans.
On the field, there were some “goods” and few “bads”, but overall a pretty productive day. With that, here are a few takeaways from yesterday’s scrimmage.
As you’ve probably heard by now, Motley had probably the best day of anyone on the defense. The sophomore played in place of the injured Jordan Parker and certainly made the most out of the opportunity. He made a number of plays, but the biggest being on interception early in the first quarter.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) April 8, 2017
You always take what you see in spring games with a grain of salt, but Motley really looked good in the starting lineup. It will be interesting to see if he wins the job before Jordan Parker returns.
Neville Gallimore had the biggest day out of this group as he was simply all over the field. For a guy that size, he has a very impressive motor.
Kenneth Mann and Amani Bledsoe are two names that showed flashes. Mann has really physically developed since arriving on campus in 2015 and it showed. At 6’3, 277-pounds, he was consistently challenging the right tackle.
He didn’t play, but Du’Vonta Lampkin looks like a future NFL defensive tackle. In February, Mike Stoops mentioned that he was having the best offseason of any of the defensive lineman and it really shows.
The defense as a whole looked pretty stout even though they were without a number of starters. There was simply far more depth and talent at each position than Oklahoma has had in recent year’s and led to a higher level of competition. It wasn’t a perfect scrimmage, but there were far more positives to talk about than negatives.
Some final thoughts on the defense:
Jon-Michael Terry may turn into one of the more physically imposing linebackers the Sooners have had in some time. Already listed at 246, he looks like he can still add a few more pounds of muscle.
Kenneth Murray is a guy to maybe watch out for mid-season as he continues to learn the system he should see more and more time. Beal however isn’t going to surrender the starting job. He looked to be playing with noticeably more aggressiveness as the game went on. This could be a iron sharpens iron situation over the summer which is what you want if you’re the coach.
Nothing to really talk about as far as Baker Mayfield. His only real job was to stay healthy and he accomplished it. Kyler Murray on the other hand had a really good day and likely solidified himself as Baker Mayfield’s backup. That said, it may be hard to keep him off the field. Murray may see time in certain situations or packages as you simply don’t keep that kind of talent on the sideline.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) April 8, 2017
Both Austin Kendall and Chris Robison put together some solid drives in the second half. You could tell Robison acclimating to the speed of college football, but stayed very poised for a freshman. It’s early, but Oklahoma looks to have a good problem on their hands when Baker Mayfield graduates.
The wide receiver group had it’s ups and downs. Where there were some big plays, there were also some big drops. Mark Andrews looked solid and his rapport with Baker Mayfield was noticeable. As Kamiar pointed out in a tweet, he’ll be Mayfield’s safety valve in the passing game. Freshman tight end, Grant Calcaterra and senior Jeffery Mead also had a good showings. Calcaterra had the most consistent day as he was a menace over the middle of the field. Mead made a few pretty athletic catches and scored a long TD, granted he was wide open due to an communication error between Broiles and McKinney.
Marquise Brown had a quieter day than most probably expected but still showed flashes of what he’s capable of. Both he and sophomore, Mykel Jones were primarily used for short to intermediate routes. With Brown’s speed, that was a bit surprising but it stands to reason that the coaching staff may not want to show that off yet.
Overall, it would be hard to give the wide receivers more than a B. Outside of Calcaterra, there wasn’t a name or names that really stood out from the pack. You could make an argument for Mead, but his biggest play came on busted coverage. Jeff Badet will be a welcomed sight when he arrives and it is safe to say both Ceedee Lamb and Charleston Rambo will have a real shot at playing as true-freshmen.
Early-enrollee, Trey Sermon did not look like a guy that should still be in high school. The freshman probably had the best all-around day of any of the running backs. Sermon looked good running both between the tackles and on the outside. He’s not quite as physically developed as Anderson, Adams, or Sutton yet, but Sermon may have the most athleticism out of any of them.
Marcelias Sutton didn’t rack up a lot of yards, but made some really tough runs, primarily near the goal line. Sutton is a guy that in someways will remind you of Samaje Perine — workmanlike mentality and will really grind to get those tough yards. Wouldn’t be surprised if he passed up Adams on the depth chart today.
Speaking of Adams, he had an ok day himself. His biggest play came on a deep throw over the middle from Chris Robison. That said, Adams struggled a bit on short yardage situations. It just seems he’s more suited to the passing game and running on the outside.
Rodney Anderson ran back a kick for a TD, although the kickoff team wasn’t trying to hit him. Two takeaways here. First, Anderson can really, really move. The second being possibility he’ll see time on special teams. . . which given his injury history, it seems like a questionable move.