Bob Stoops met with the media Tuesday for the first time since the Sooners held their first major scrimmage last Saturday. Stoops said the scrimmage lasted about 100 plays and the first two units took 80-85 snaps during the outing.
"I was pleased really with both sides of the ball. I thought our offense, for the most part, didn't have many penalties and took care of the football really well," said Stoops. "The defense tackled better than maybe we usually do in the first scrimmage, when you haven't done it much. No one got hurt. That was positive."
The past week, and the start of two-a-days, has given the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate their rebuilt offensive line after the losses of starting center Ben Habern and starting guard Tyler Evans.
"Gabe (Ikard's) really excellent and then Adam Shead - I felt really in the last half of the year, probably the last three or four games, played as well as anybody for us in there. Bronson Irwin is really ready to play and is doing well," reported Stoops. "Obviously losing the other two guys, we're thin. So we hopefully can keep everyone healthy."
Oklahoma will also be introducing new offensive tackles into the mix this season.
Last year, Lane Johnson was the starter at right tackle. This season, Daryl Williams has taken over the right tackle spot while Johnson is splitting time with Tyrus Thompson at the left tackle, as well as backing up Williams at right tackle.
"The tackles are all doing well, in particular the trio of Lane (Johnson), Daryl (Williams) and Tyrus Thompson," said Stoops. "And Derek Farniok continues to make strides, and he's the biggest of all of them. So, we're getting there. We just have to keep them healthy."
The health of OU's returning starter at running back has also been a major topic of questions during fall camp. Now that Stoops has seen more of Dominique Whaley in practice, he's feeling better about his return to the field.
"Dom has looked really good," Stoops boasted. "He didn't get a lot in the scrimmages intentionally but in our inside drills and other sessions where we are going hard, he really looks to be pretty close to where he was.
"It's always hard to say is he fully back. He hasn't had any setbacks whatsoever and he's closer and closer to that, so that's really positive. And then the other guys are coming along."
There is also more positive news on the offensive line front as Nila Kasitati has returned to practice.
"Nila has been practicing," Stoops confirmed. "I should have said that. He has been practicing all this week so far and doing everything, looks good. He looks as good as ever."
SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION SO FAR
Penn State transfer Justin Brown has fit right in with the Oklahoma offense. In fact, Stoops said his best group in practice right now is Trey Metoyer, Kenny Stills and Brown all on the field at the same time.
"It's been very seamless. The last three days, he's been working with ones," said Stoops. "There's very little - he's still here or there a signal or two, but overall he's getting it, he's making plays and he's good.
"He's not a guy coming from a junior college or coming from high school. He's been in a big time program for three years, playing against big-time players in the Big Ten. He's ready for this and you would expect him to be.
"He's ready to play."
NOT THIS YEAR FOR BROOKS
One player in Oklahoma's 2012 recruiting class who hasn't been mentioned this fall is athlete Daniel Brooks from Port Lavaca (TX) Calhoun High School.
Brooks has been rehabbing a very serious knee injury he suffered during his senior season after committing to Oklahoma. Brooks suffered multiple ligament tears in his knee.
Bob Stoops said honoring his scholarship was never a question, even though there is always a chance Brooks might not be the same player he was before the injury.
"It is the right thing to do. He made a commitment to us and we were committed to him," he said. "Now, it's a different story had you offered a guy and he never committed to you. You're not obligated there. But if we tell a guy that, then we're going to stay with it.
"Most all the coaches I know would do that. I don't know that there'd be - I'd be pretty surprised if anyone didn't do that."
Stoops did have an update on Brooks, who will sit out this year as a redshirt.
"He wasn't able to practice but we still brought him in with the 105 group, so that he could rehabilitate," he explained. "He's been diligent out there with the trainers and he's been running the past, I think, week and a half. So, he's out running with the brace on. He's been very diligent just going through the rehab phase. And he's doing well with it."