Oklahoma Football 2016: Season Kickoff 30 Days Away

Apr 9, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Miciah Quick (16) is tackled by linebacker Jordan Evans (26) and defensive back AD Miller (13) during the first half of the spring game at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Miciah Quick (16) is tackled by linebacker Jordan Evans (26) and defensive back AD Miller (13) during the first half of the spring game at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /
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Editor’s note: Throughout the month of August I will be counting down to the season-opening game with the Houston Cougars, providing historical Sooner football facts and other relevant and timely information to get Oklahoma football fans ready for the new season.

Apr 9, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops watches his team during the first half of the spring game at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops watches his team during the first half of the spring game at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 Oklahoma football season officially got underway bright and early this morning as the Sooners hit the practice field bright and early for the first of 29 scheduled practices before their opening game on Sept. 3.

The Sooners practiced a couple of hours on Thursday morning early and will do so again on Friday. On Saturday, the players and coaches will participate in annual “Meet the Sooners Day” at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual interactive event will run an hour and a half, beginning at 10:30 in the morning.

Head coach Bob Stoops told the Sooner players what he wanted to see the first few days of training camp was their “intensity to learn, to comprehend what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively with all our concepts, and guys pushing themselves physically and mentally, and staying on the field.

“It’s a big deal to avoid little muscle pulls, strains and those kind of deals,” the Sooner head coach said later. “(We) just want them to stay on the field and keep improving and keep understanding what we trying to give them.”

According to strength and conditioning coach, or what at OU they refer to as director of sports enhancement, Jerry Schmidt, he was extremely pleased with the way the Sooner players went through the summer conditioning program, both in the overall intensity and the way they invested themselves physically and mentally.

Schmidt told Stoops this has been the best summer of conditioning in his 18 seasons on the Sooner coaching staff. And he should know what he’s talking about. The OU strength and conditioning guru has won national titles doing the same thing at Florida, Notre Dame and at Oklahoma.

For the most part, the players were excited to get back on field and be with their teammates again.

“The first day we’re just trying to get out legs back and work on communication, just getting everything back in order,” junior safety Steven Parker said in a news release posted on the OU athletic website. “We’re trying to start playing as a unit again.”

More than 20 new faces were on the field at the first day of 2016 fall practice, true freshmen like quarterback Austin Kendall, linebacker Caleb Kelly and wide receiver Mykel Jones, and players transferring in like wide receiver Geno Lewis (formerly of Penn State) and offensive lineman Ben Powers (from Butler (Kan.) Community College).