The Oklahoma Sooners start their spring practice on Saturday, March 9, but Spring officially kicked off on Thursday as head coach Bob Stoops held his press conference.
Of course, one of the first questions that Stoops was asked was about the change to the defense and shifting to a three-man front. Stoops’ response:
There’s been a lot talked about going to a 50 front. That’s something we have done in the past and it’s something we’ll do some in the spring, but we won’t do it solely. We’ll still be in our four-man front as well and we’ll work some different guys in the rotation there inside.
We’ll also experiment because I think it’s a positive to be able to jump into a 50 and do some of that stuff like we had in the past.
The word “experiment” is nice to hear, considering a couple of questions that do come up when shifting to a three-man — such as the fact that the players that were recruited by the team were recruited for a four-man. Working to see which one is more compatible with the personnel they have instead of jumping in head-first may put some doubters’ minds at ease.
As far as who will miss the spring workouts, there were a couple on the list, but some players that were thought to be questionable have been cleared. Offensive lineman Adam Shead and Bronson Irwin were both out with injuries, but are scheduled to practice. Tyler Evans, another offensive lineman who was out with an ACL injury, has been cleared.
Nila Kasitati and Aaron Ripkowski will both miss all of spring, while Taylor McNamara will only miss one week. So, on the injury side of things, it’s not as bad as it first looked like it would be.
D.J. Ward, an early enrollee from Southmoore, is still waiting on the NCAA clearinghouse to approve him and we all know how fast the NCAA works on anything. No word on when he will be cleared.
Stoops was also asked about the new coaching staff and the reasoning behind firing some longtime assistants. In typical Stoops fashion, he didn’t answer the “why” part, but went on to say that the new additions have been fitting in great and have had a good response from the players.
The question of quarterback did come up, and he mentioned that nothing was definite at the moment, and that the race was down to three: Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson. That’s not exactly new news since we have been talking about it for weeks.
The coach expects the three-man race to continue into the Summer, and a decision will be made at the start of Fall. That is Stoops-speak for, “stop asking and we will announce the next quarterback when we are ready.”
The Spring will be an interesting one for the Sooners as we will see how all of the change affects them.