With the Red/White Game in the rearview, the Oklahoma Sooners now shift gears to putting in the work in the weight room to prepare for the fall grind.
The on-field work will be scaled back, OU strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie takes center stage, but the players must also find within themselves the areas they can improve before reporting back for fall camp.
“This summer is huge for all of us. (Lincoln Riley) hit on it after the scrimmage today, he said we've got 104 days until we put pads on again, so what are we gonna do for those 104 days? That's kinda how I'm gonna look at it.” quarterback Spencer Rattler said after Saturday’s Red/White Game. “I’ve got 104 days. Everybody on this team has 104 days to prepare and do what we have to do throughout the summer to reach those goals.”
More than just work in the weight room, the summer also is an opportunity for players to continue to grow in the mental aspects of the game.
“Coach Riley hit on after the game, both sides of the ball have a lot of work to do,” safety Delarrin Turner-Yell said. “You have to be able to take advantage of those 104 days. Anything that anybody struggled with during spring ball, it’s good that they get in with the coaches whenever they can. And they should just be able to tap into some film and watch something that they felt that they didn’t see fast enough during the spring.”
Improvement takes a very different form in the summer, as players aren’t competing against each other on the field, but often against themselves in the weight room and reviewing film.
Alex Grinch challenged the team to never be satisfied as they attack summer workouts, veteran linebacker Caleb Kelly said.
“We got, I think (Grinch) said, 104 days until we put the pads on again. Now you’re a professional weightlifter. Now you need to go and get better athletically, strength and every other aspect of football, because we don’t get to have those reps,” Kelly said. “You need to find another way to continue to push yourself to continue to get better, because we’re not the best in the world. We have to get better every single day. That was pretty much his message.”
The expectations are sky-high around Oklahoma’s program.
The consistent improvement of the defense under Grinch has fans dreaming of a national title run. The players have even referenced their expectations for themselves, but the next few months will be essential to a quick start next fall.
“We're not worried about any type of hype, anything,” Rattler said. “We're focused on us and what we control and that's what we've gotta stick with.”