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March 3, 2009

OU hits the football fields later today

The Oklahoma Sooners hit the football fields once again as spring practices begin later today in Norman. Sam Bradford will be breaking in a new group of wide receivers, James Patton will be rebuilding his offensive line, and Bobby Jack Wright will be searching for a new group of safeties.

Bob Stoops will hold a pre-spring press conference this afternoon before practices get underway and SoonerScoop.com's Carey Murdock will be there to bring you all the latest from spring practices.

We'll also bring you photos of OU's first practice later today as well as interviews and updates following the workout.

Here's a look at our list of players needing to make a major step forward this spring. This list features juniors or seniors that haven't made a major impact during their careers, but need to make major strides this spring.

Adron Tennell - Tennell has battled injuries the last two years and hasn't become the deep threat he was expected to be during his time in Norman. Now heading into his senior season, Tennell has few obstacles in his path to a starting job.

Tennell struggled with his confidence last season after it was clear he hadn't fully recovered from a knee injury in 2007. If Tennell doesn't perform at a high level this spring, he's in danger of being passed up by youngsters Dejuan Miller and Jameel Owens.

Cory Brandon - Brandon has been in the program for a while now and he's in a similar position to Tennell. He has little resistance ahead of him after Phil Loadholt is no longer ahead of him on the depth chart.

Trent Williams will take over the left tackle spot, but Brandon has a golden opportunity to beat out Jarvis Jones for the starting right tackle spot. Brandon came to Oklahoma as a tall, skinny project, but he's done a great job putting on weight over the last three years.

Brandon Caleb - There may not be another player on this list who has more trust from the OU coaching staff to go out and be productive in game situations. Caleb has been very good in practices but he's just been a step behind Juaquin Iglesias and others over the last two years.

Caleb still has great athletic ability and every coach from Kevin Sumlin to Jay Norvell has expected big things from him. He'll have every chance to impress this spring.

Eric Mensik - Mensik could be the player who bridges the gap between Brody Eldridge and Gabe Ikard in 2010. Mensik broke his leg last season and missed plenty of time, but he did return at the end of the year.

Mensik is a jumbo tight end who can provide solid blocking in jumbo set situations. He's not a great receiver, but he's as good or better than Eldridge in passing situations. Mensik needs to have a good spring if he wants to see playing time in the fall.

Cordero Moore - Moore was thrown into action last season and he played quite well at times. With Demarcus Granger's future still a bit of an uncertainty, OU could use an experienced defensive tackle to help bolster their depth chart in 2009.

Moore has done a great job of rebuilding himself after coming in as an overweight freshman several years ago. He's now ready to step in and become a major contributor next season. He'll need a good spring to hold off youngsters Stacey McGee and Casey Walker though.

Jonathan Nelson - Nelson might have avoided this list altogether if he hadn't had a serious knee injury last season. Nelson was seen as the No. 3 cornerback last season before the injury but he must prove himself once again this spring.

Lamar Harris is making a hard charge to become the No. 3 cornerback after a solid redshirt season with the varsity in 2008. But Nelson's experience, coupled with a strong spring, could put him right back in the mix in nickel and dime situations next season.


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