OU football notebook: Defensive ends Jalen Redmond, Ronnie Perkins making impression
Youngsters gaining early notice
Defensive ends Jalen Redmond and Ronnie Perkins -- two early enrollees taking part in Oklahoma’s spring drills -- has gained the attention of defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux.
“You look at a Jalen Redmond. He flashes a lot. He has ability. His mind is a little cloudy so he’s moving a little slow. You can tell the athletic ability is there,” Thibodeaux said Wednesday following practice. “Ronnie Perkins is really a physical guy, a powerful guy, who is thinking a lot. But you can tell that the skill set is there. They still need to be developed, but you are still excited about those guys.”
Getting a jump-start on their college careers can help, Thibodeaux said.
“It’s huge. When we start fall camp, they are going to be ahead in practice. We’re going to be able to call out drills, we’re going to be able to call out defenses and they are going to know it,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s going to allow them to play that much faster and it’s going to give them a chance to possibly help us next fall.”
Thibodeaux said he keeps incoming freshmen like Union High School’s Jordan Kelley engaged during spring football.
“We have some things that we do. He’s come down a couple of times,” Thibodeaux said. “There’s only so much that you can do with NCAA rules. But he’s a guy who comes from a great program. When you recruit guys who have won championships in high school, they are used to it. I expect big things from him as well.”
Good cop/bad cop
Thibodeaux is going through his first spring football season with defensive line coach Ruffin McNeill.
What’s it been like working together?
“At the end of the day, coach Ruff, the experiences that he brings, a former head coach, a former DC, all those experiences, he’s kind of like the grandfather of the group,” Thibodeaux said. “We work well off each other.
“We can do the good cop/bad cop thing. He can give life lessons, big scheme, he can do it all, man. And then myself, I can give you what I have. It’s just a good combination. He’s been awesome. For this thing to work out the way it did, it’s awesome because he’s such a great person, so it’s easy for it to work.”
Learning to lead
Defensive lineman Amani Bledsoe was asked what his goal was this spring.
“I’d say just stepping up more as a leader. Leading by example and kind of talking more because I’ve kind of struggled with that in the past because I’m kind of quiet,” Bledsoe said. “So just vocal, anything to the younger guys to help them out because I was young once. I know what it’s like, out here going against the 1s. Anything encouraging to them.”
Bledsoe is looking forward to his first complete season. He missed the second half of 2016 and the first half of last season after serving an NCAA penalty after failing a test for a performance-enhancing drug.
“It’s definitely an advantage knowing you’re not going to have a setback at the beginning of the year,” Bledsoe said. “You’re going to be able to come in and help your team win from the start.”