The Oklahoma Sooners played football Saturday in public for the first time in about four months.
That’s the best way to sum up the 2018 Red-White Game.
Nothing in particular stood out about a vanilla scrimmage that was missing a significant number of key contributors. Windy conditions made things tough on the quarterbacks, and an early leg injury to running back Trey Sermon seemed to bring the intensity down a few notches. All of that probably sat just fine with head coach Lincoln Riley, who’s working overtime pressing the recruiting flesh this weekend.
Overall, there just wasn’t much to take away from the exercise. I did have a smattering of off-the-cuff observations.
*Austin Kendall put up the better numbers of the two QBs, but I wouldn’t read much into that. In fact, with how Kyler Murray moved on the field Saturday, I felt more confident in his ability to lead the offense into the end zone. Keep in mind that most of his runs were prematurely cut short by the one-hand touch rule in the scrimmage.
I didn’t see anything Saturday to make me think the quarterback derby is anything but Murray’s to lose. Of course, that’s if he’s going to be with the team in the fall. (I'm betting he will be.)
*Guess we can officially say Cody Ford is a tackle now? Bobby Evans playing on the right side of the line suggests Ford would get the nod to start at LT.
*Kennedy Brooks looked really strong running the ball. I don’t know if he’ll be in line for any work this season, but I feel better about that prospect after watching him on Saturday.
*CeeDee Lamb remains a dog.
*The defense shifted around between three- and four-man fronts, as expected. Interestingly, Mark Jackson moved between SAM linebacker and weakside defensive end, depending on the front.
*Speaking of which, I’d argue that the play of OU’s edge rushers constituted the highlight of the day. Addison Gumbs and K’Jakyre Daley both looked explosive in spurts. Either could grow into a real terror for opposing blockers.
*Ronnie Perkins’ athleticism at strongside defensive end also caught my attention. Kenneth Mann could end up with a battle on his hands for that spot by midseason.
*In general, the cornerbacks had a solid day. I reckon the wind had at least a little something to do with that.
*Bookie definitely has the juice everyone has been talking about. He’s active, and his closing speed when the ball is in the air stuck out to me. He’ll provide Mike Stoops with a serious weapon at nickelback.
I do worry about what it says about the D that Bookie could prove to be one of the unit’s best players from the jump.
*Ryan Jones definitely looks the part now that he has moved to SAM LB. Unfortunately, I didn't see him making many plays. Hopefully, those will come in due time.