NORMAN - Traditionally when the Sooners enjoy a blowout, such as Saturday’s 69-13 win over Florida A&M, it’s an opportunity for some younger players to get a chance to pick up some game experience. Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops says quite a few freshmen have had a chance to play over the past couple of weeks and they have been impressive.
"They all played good,” said Stoops. “They're all good players. They all can play at this level. They're going to be great players if they stick to what they're doing. They all have the physical skills to be tremendous players for their positions. A lot of it is just developing and staying with it. I think for all of them it's a new experience being in college and playing in an environment like this for the first time. It can tie you up a little bit, but once they get over it I think you'll see their physical skills continue to flourish and once they get used to playing in these environments”
Charles Tapper and Mike Onouha have been impressive at defensive end. Sterling Shepard made a very impressive Owen Field debut on Saturday. Gary Simon is seeing some action in the secondary and then of course JUCO transfer Damien Williams has had a tremendous impact at running back.
"[Damien] was a very polished player in junior college. You can see his build from that level. Obviously that's not major college football but you can see his talents were there, or he wouldn't be at Oklahoma if he wasn't a first rate running back. He's come in and his maturity is diligent for what he does. Day in and day out is what I've been most impressed with. I don't get to work with him, but all I know is he's a wonderful kid and he works hard every day and that's really all I see and if you do those things with his talent you're off to a great start.
"He has some very unique skills. You see his ability to close out runs. You see his strength at the line of scrimmage. You see all those intangible elements that a running back needs to be there for him to be a great player. We see him every day it’s really no shock to us."
While only naming a few, Stoops has been very impressed with all the young players in camp.
"They're all very talented players and, like I said, there's not one that won't have a great future if they continue to progress the way they have through the first four or five months of being here at Oklahoma. They've only been here three, four months. They've really done a great job, I like their demeanor. I like that class, I think they have unique talent in that class if they continue to stay together and work.
The Sooners have an open date this weekend and will use the extra time to prepare for Kansas State. The Wildcats will come to town on September 22 with one of the nation’s best rushing offenses.