NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops “felt good about” the final week of spring practice following the Sooners’ annual Red/White Game 12 days ago.
“I think our guys did a nice job overall,” Stoops said Thursday after the Sooners stepped off the field for the final time together until August. “No serious injuries. That’s a big thing. I think more young guys got a lot of good snaps (this week) that they will learn from. Overall, again, I feel good about it.”
Stoops largely wrapped up his 19th spring practice by presiding over a scrimmage on Saturday. It was a different feel than the spring game on April 8.
“We were missing a few more guys in that scrimmage,” Stoops said. “Probably overall, it was a little bit sharper overall in the Red/White Game than we were in that one. But that happens. Guys going after the Red/White Game get a little more focused and concentrated. But it was fine. Again, just continuing to try to grow with some of these younger guys and get more depth.”
Stoops talked glowingly about the latest addition to his staff: coach Eric Striker.
“That’s hard to believe, isn’t it?” he said. “No, Eric is going to do a great job for us. We’re got him working as a defensive recruiting analyst. We’ve got him helping us on the defensive side with recruits, families when they are here on campus, those kinds of things. So whatever things that he’s allowed to do, we’re going to implement them.”
It may be hard to think of a more passionate guy to tell recruits and their families what OU is about than the Sooners’ all-time leader in quarterback sacks among linebackers, who couldn’t land an NFL roster spot last season and has since, apparently, given up on the game.
“Eric is a guy that, again, I think young people will relate to and he’ll be great with families as well,” Stoops said. “We’re excited to have him in our office.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops sounds happy to be around Striker again.
“He’s such an interesting story,” Mike Stoops said. “A guy that really overachieved for — you know, you look at his slight build and his size and what he was able to do against some of the best teams — he really had a strong desire to compete and compete at a high level. Brought a lot of energy. His likability as a person and energy in practice just helps across the board. Not only with our team but in recruiting as well.”
Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said he was enthused about the development this spring of Baker Mayfield’s backups, but he’s hardly stressing about any type of pecking order yet.
“I know you don’t believe me, but I don’t look that big-picture at it,” Riley said. “You know, I like our depth. Did they develop this spring? Yes. We got a ton of reps. We were able to get all those guys a sufficient number of reps. There’s improvement there, there’s talent there. Like any position, it’ll be what they go do with it this summer. Where they’re at right now doesn’t matter a whole lot. It’s about where they’re at when we get to camp and as we get into camp and as we progress through the season. But I like the guys we have, and there’s some competitiveness in there as well.”
Now Riley turns Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall and Chris Robison and others over to Baker Mayfield for the usual summer workouts. Quarterbacks are vital to any offseason development, Riley said — not just their own, but other skill-position players, too.
“They’re very important,” Riley said. “They’ve got to organize, they’ve got to do a lot of the things that we (coaches) would do if we were there. We’re so limited with what we can do with these guys. Completely responsible but totally limited as far as being around them, I might add. So yeah. Having Baker back, having a few guys back that have been in the offense, where it won’t be Baker by himself kind of like it was last year a little bit, as Austin and Tanner (Schafer) and some of those guys were learning, yeah, I think we ought to have a stronger group going into summer that can help us grow.”
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.