Despite chilly weather, spring game was interesting
The OU spring game was a real game for one half, and when paired with a variety of festivities made for an interesting day at Owen Field, despite chilly weather: Early-entry freshmen:
AEight OU freshmen enrolled in January and had a solid impact. Safety Patrick Fields had an open-field tackle on tailback Trey Sermon and a fourthdown sack of Kyler Murray. Defensive end Ronnie Perkins made several plays, including an excellent containment of scrambling quarterback Austin Kendall. Safety Miguel Edwards made an end-zone interception of a Kendall pass. And defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles was all over the field, with four tackles, including a sack. Notable freshmen T.J. Pledger (tailback) and Jalen Redmond (defensive end) were held out with minor injuries. New logo:
DThe new Jordan Brand marks for the Sooners included a new interlocking OU logo on the helmets. It seemed much the same shape, only quite a big bigger on each side of the helmet. And not nearly as sharplooking, because of the bloated size. Some things don’t need changing. Quarterbacking:
BSaturday was not fit for passers. The wind howled out of the north, making deep balls precarious and short throws adventurous. Kyler Murray completed 11 of 21 passes for 85 yards and one nearinterception; Kendall completed 11 of 18 for 134 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Their throws weren’t terribly off but weren’t particularly on, even accounting for some slippage after the loss of Baker Mayfield. Kendall’s 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Grant Calcaterra — Kendall recognized a mismatch — was a highlight. Crowd:
AOU hoped for 80,000, announced 52,102 and actually drew probably 35,000. But that’s not a bad number, considering the weather — 47 degrees and wind stiff even by Oklahoma standards. The pregame Trace Adkins concert went off OK, and the various in-game attractions — students kicking field goals and racing Marquise Brown — were a decent diversion. Defensive positioning:
AWide receivers did not run free. That’s always a good sign in Big 12 territory. Defensive backs mostly covered the receivers, and several of the Murray/Kendall completions were delivered into traffic. Lincoln Riley called it a “sound” performance. Offensive line:
BThe mixture of firstteamers among both squads hurt the O-line the most, Riley said, but he still was pleased with the blocking, especially in the run game. Kennedy Brooks rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries. Marcelias Sutton rushed for 57 yards on eight carries, including a 17-yard touchdown run in overtime. The pass protection was not quite as pristine, as both quarterbacks were often flushed from the pocket. Format:
ARiley promised a real game. He delivered. Outside of protecting the quarterbacks, this was real football. We even had drama, with an overtime at the end of the only half that was played. Stoops Salute:
AFrom the gala Friday night at the state fairgrounds to the statue dedication Saturday morning to the halftime ovation, this was a welldeserved Bob Stoops weekend. Perhaps the coolest nod to the nowretired coaching legend was Owen Field itself, adorned with “SALUTE TO BOB STOOPS” in bold white letters below the mid-field logo and visors straddling each 25-yard line.
Grant Calcaterra, right, catches a pass as Prentice McKinney defends during Saturday’s spring football game at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Quarterback Kyler Murray, in a bid to replace Baker Mayfield, throws a pass during Saturday’s Red-White spring football game in Norman.