Oklahoma's 2019 season will kick off against Houston at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1. The Sooners got a taste of prime time action with a practice under the lights Tuesday night.
Oklahoma moved practice to the evening after three consecutive daytime practices due to weather concerns, as the high for Tuesday was 96 degrees. For the players, the opportunity to get to play under the lights was a refreshing change of pace and provided a game-like atmosphere.
“It definitely is exciting (to practice at night),” junior tight end Grant Calcaterra said. “At camp, everything gets kind of monotonous. You’re doing the same drills and the same thing every day. You get up at the same time, you have meetings at the same time, things like that. It’s fun and brings a lot more energy. Practicing under the lights, it just gives that game time feeling. Guys had a ton of energy and were flying around, it was just a lot of fun.”
The benefits of getting to practice at night didn't stop at the atmosphere. Normally, the team has 24 hours of rest between practices, but the shift to the evening gave an extra afternoon of recovery time.
“Since practice yesterday morning, we’ve had about eight more hours of recovery than we normally do,” Calcaterra said. “I felt a little more fresh and it wasn’t as hot as it normally is, so I felt a little bit better than I would in the morning.”
While the coaches didn't need the physical rest that the players did, they got a chance to hone in on various areas of improvement.
As opposed to having to wake up and rush to the practice fields, the staff was able spend the bulk of the day getting ready for exactly what they needed to work on going into the evening's practice.
“It gave (the coaching staff) time this morning to figure out exactly what we wanted to do tonight and have a chance to spend some time this afternoon to get ready for practice," assistant head coach for offense Shane Beamer said. "Normally you’re rushing out to the practice field in the morning, but now there was plenty of time to fine tune things and go back and look at some of the things we missed on day one and day two that we want to be a little better at.”
The benefits of the evening practice were on full display for the Sooners, as Beamer described the energy of the practice as being higher than normal.
"It was a good change up, we’ve been out here in the mornings the past three days, so we got to do something different,” Beamer said. "They got to sleep in a little bit today, we had a walkthrough in the morning to get ready for practice. We said 'It’s a little bit cooler, it’s under the lights, it should be electric.'
"And that’s what it was."