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April 13, 2012

Notebook: Stoops on weather, standouts

Has Bob Stoops cursed OU's annual Red & White Game? With ominous weather moving in this weekend, Stoops was asked about predicted tornadic activity Saturday throughout Oklahoma.

Weather which could be cause for cancellation of the Sooners' annual spring football game.



"You seen how often those guys are wrong?" said Stoops of weather men. "Sorry! Not to offend anybody. If I had the same percentage they got, I wouldn't have a job."

Stoops has been around the Sooner state long enough to know weather is serious business. It's not often anyone goes up against Gary England and company. Stoops did say if weather becomes a factor, OU's annual Red & White Game could be canceled completely.

"If things were so bad and if we had to, we'd cancel it and we'd just have our own scrimmage on Monday," he said.

And that scrimmage would happen in private, like every other OU practice this spring.

Stoops did say that the Red&White Game will be played in rainy conditions, as long as they weren't dangerous conditions.

"As long as it's reasonable. We're not going to endanger kids or people or fans if there's anything that's bad, but otherwise we'll go at it," said Stoops.

THE YOUNGSTER REPORT

Stoops was asked Thursday to mention youngsters who stood out to him this spring. The first name that popped into his mind was redshirt freshmen defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.

"Jordan Phillips is really coming on and doing some nice things," he said.

The praise for Phillips has been growing all throughout spring camp. Even defensive end David King said Thursday that he has been the biggest positive while Stacy McGee and Casey Walker have missed most of the spring due to injuries.

"He's coming along good," King added. "I feel if he came in when he was supposed to last year, I think he would have cracked the rotation last year. He's out there improving this spring and he's one of our better defensive tackles. We've got two that aren't practicing right now. He's filling that void and he's doing a good job."

Stoops was also high on linebackers Aaron Franklin and Frank Shannon.

"Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin are doing really well," he said. "They're having great springs. They have done really well and we're really pleased with them.

"They're going to play. They do a lot of really good things and they've both got great feet, they're tough, they play hard, they're both conscientious, so they're going to play."

Stoops also praised redshirt freshmen Marquis Anderson as a young standout this spring and said Jordan Wade was coming along.

GRISSOM ON THE MEND

Defensive end Geneo Grissom missed this spring because of a stress fracture in his foot. He missed most of last season because of the same injury in his other foot.

"He must have a little bit of a genetic defect there or weakness," Stoops remarked. "It was a stress fracture. We knew he had on in the winter and we were hoping just to get through spring and then fix it and it just popped on him doing some of the drills he did."

It was a disappointing injury for defense ends coach Bobby Jack Wright as well.

"It's just a shame," said Wright. "This was a time that you would think Geneo would jump forward and make a big jump. I thought he would. He had a really good winter and we thought he was on the verge of coming out this spring and really showing he was going to compete for a lot of playing time and I think he still will in the fall."

Grissom is starting to heal up from the surgery last month. Thursday was his first day off crutches and now he'll just wear a protective boot until he's fully healed.

"He had that big ole smile and he was so glad to be able to get off those crutches," Wright said. "He's still in the boot, so he's still got a ways to go."

NO SHARK SIGHTINGS

Senior cornerback Demontre Hurst had an interesting nugget Thursday following practice. The sharks, the name OU's defensive backs gave themselves last fall, have been put on the back burner this spring.

"We're still around. We're a little silent right now," he explained. "We're still around. We represent our sharks every now and then but kinda trying to get in that serious mode and try to focus down on what really needs to be done and what needs to get better."

There was a definite sense that the sharks may have been a little too flashy for a secondary coming off last season's big play debacles. But Hurst insists it wasn't a directive from Mike Stoops to shut it down.

"It really came from us," he said. "It's not so much that we shied away from it but we kind of really wanted to focus on being really good players and working on the small things. Once that all comes around we can starting being them again."

In fact, as long as the weather holds up, Hurst says the sharks will be swimming once more in tomorrow's scrimmage.

"You might see - as a matter of fact, you are going to see the sharks in the spring game so be ready for that," said a smiling Hurst. "We're going to be ready."



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