By John Shinn
The first hour of Oklahoma’s practice Thursday night was open to the public and several hundred fans packed the south berm at the OU Rugby Fields.
Players were in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets for the workout. Fans were able to see position drills followed by special teams drills and a short 11-on-11 scrimmage.
The night’s biggest highlight came on the scrimmage’s first play when wide receiver Adron Tennell made a leaping catch for a touchdown on a pass from Sam Bradford.
OU coach Bob Stoops has been talking up the improvements in the kicking game since practice began. He even turned to the crowd after Jimmy Stevens drilled a 50-yard kick and pleaded for some applause.
“You guys have to cheer for more than Sam,” he said with a laugh.
Junior college wide receiver Cameron Kenney also showed off his punting ability. The former soccer player alternated punts with Tress Way.
The workout was closed at 7 p.m. and players and coaches did not speak with the media Thursday.
Middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds didn’t participate in teams drills during the open portion of Thursday’s practice. Wednesday night he told reporters that he’d “tweaked” a hamstring, but didn’t expect to miss any practices.
He was wearing shoulder pads and his helmet. He did some running off to the side while team drills were going on. Running back DeMarco Murray went through position drills, but was not wearing shoulder pads.
OU trio named to Bednarik list
OU’s Jeremy Beal, Travis Lewis and Gerald McCoy were placed on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award Thursday. The honor goes annually to college football’s top defensive player.
Beal, a junior, started all 14 games at defensive end last season and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He finished with 61 tackles, including 151⁄2 for loss with 81⁄2 sacks and three fumbles caused. Lewis, a sophomore, was Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2008 when he notched 144 tackles with 111⁄2 for loss and 31⁄2 sacks.
He broke Brian Bosworth’s freshman tackle record, which stood at 133. McCoy, a junior, was a first-team All-American last season by The Sporting News. He had 30 tackles from his defensive tackle position along with 11 tackles for losses and 6.5 sacks.
The only previous OU winner was linebacker Teddy Lehman, who claimed the honor in 2003.
Semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced on Nov. 4 and three finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 23.