Sooners' First Football Practice is 'a Long Time Coming'

John. E. Hoover

You’d better believe Lincoln Riley has been counting the days.

“You know, it’s been 143 days,” Riley told Sooners Sports TV on Friday as the Oklahoma Sooners officially started fall training camp for the 2020 college football season.

“So it’s a long time coming. You could feel that in the atmosphere today. The guys are eager to be out here, very excited — maybe even more than a normal camp. They’re always fun, but this one had a little different feel to it.”

Riley said no players have opted to sit out as a precaution during the Coronavirus pandemic, but all players and coaches wore masks Friday as they participated in various drills.

“It’s more about keeping the face covered and what we do kind of in between,” he said. “We’re not changing a whole lot in our practices. We’ve gone for seven days now in the OTA (organized team activities) period, and even in that, we’ve done team drills, guys up next to each other, and as everyone knows, we test it and we’ve had no positives. So we feel like what we’re doing’s working.

Riley said Oklahoma has been not only cautious with waiting “longer than most” to bring student-athletes back to campus, but the school’s methodology has been successful. After 14 initial positives when players returned from quarantine, OU has had four consecutive weeks now without a positive COVID-19 test.

Riley always exudes positive vibes around his team, but he sounded even more enthusiastic about what he saw Friday.

“There’s more talent out here,” he said. “There’s more good body-types. It looks like we’ve got a lot of contributors on this field and a lot of guys who could potentially have big roles on this team.”

The Sooners are scheduled to open the 2020 season on Aug. 29 against Missouri State, although Big 12 presidents are meeting Monday and are expected to announce whether the league will play non-conference games as scheduled or adopt some kind of adjusted schedule.

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