De­spite chilly weather, spring game was in­ter­est­ing

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

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.

[PHOTO BY

Grant Cal­caterra, right, catches a pass as Pren­tice McKin­ney de­fends dur­ing Satur­day’s spring foot­ball game at Gay­lord Fam­ily — Ok­la­homa Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

[PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray, in a bid to re­place Baker May­field, throws a pass dur­ing Satur­day’s Red-White spring foot­ball game in Nor­man.

Berry Tramel btramel@ oklahoman.com

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