You are the owner of this article.

OU football: Tre Norwood's health, Charleston Rambos's growth — 3 takeaways from Lincoln Riley's opening spring press conference

  • 0
  • 2 min to read
Lincoln Riley

Lincoln Riley answers questions during a press conference Feb. 12 at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

After ending its 2019 season with a 63-28 College Football Playoff loss to No. 1 LSU in December, Oklahoma's first spring practice will be held Tuesday. 

Sooner coach Lincoln Riley held his first press conference prior to spring practice on Monday. He announced the unveiling of Baker Mayfield's Heisman statue at the spring game, position changes and gave injury updates

"We're still kind of young, new and unproven in a lot of areas, but you can feel a strong sense of cohesion in this group already," Riley said.

Here are three takeaways from Riley's press conference:

Tre Norwood bouncing back from season-ending injury 

Redshirt junior Tre Norwood missed all of last season with a non-contact knee injury, but Riley said he will be fully available for the spring and has been ahead of schedule with his recovery.

"(He's) exceeding expectations on rehab. There's going to be no limits to what he can do this spring," Riley said. "He was an active participant in coaches' stations. He's ahead of the curve and we're going to be smart with him ... He's certainly gained a lot of strength during that time, which I think is going to be a much player."

The Sooners are losing cornerback Parnell Motley to graduation, who was a First-Team All Big 12 selection last year. Norwood, senior Tre Brown and sophomore Jaden Davis will be the players likely be tasked to step up in Motley's absence.

Norwood also brings depth to a position that lacked it last season.

"There were some days (last spring) where it was tough to get them near the amount that we wanted them to get," Riley said. "We're going to be a deeper, more experienced group for sure."

Charleston Rambo stepping into leadership role

The Sooners are losing wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Nick Basquine, both of which played important roles last season.

Lamb is forgoing his senior season and heading to the NFL after he led the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Basquine was a sixth-year senior who Riley said he viewed as one of the team's leaders.

Redshirt junior Charleston Rambo was the team's second-leading receiver last season, and Riley sees him as the one to step up and fill the hole Lamb is leaving.

"It's a very talented room, but it's very thin, and in some respects, inexperienced," Riley said. "(Rambo is) a guy that we're going to need to take the next step ... I think he's got a lot of confidence going forward, and our quarterbacks got a lot of confidence in him as well."

Along with Rambo, the Sooners have former five-star recruits sophomores Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease Jr. and Trejan Bridges, and graduate transfer Theo Howard from UCLA. 

Riley said he has already seen progress in Rambo physically, and that he needs to elevate his leadership role along with his on-field play.

"His body, probably more than any period that I can remember, has really started to change and really develop," Riley said. "We are going to need him to lead us and to lead that group because he is one of the older, more experienced guys in that room ... you have to have leaders in that room and he has to be that guy for us."

No timetable on players suspended in December

Senior running back Rhamondre Stevenson, junior defensive end Ronnie Perkins and Bridges were suspended in December for an undisclosed amount of time. The three's suspension included the Sooners' game against LSU in the playoff. 

The three's return has not been announced yet, and Riley said process of determining the length of their suspension is still ongoing. But all three will practice throughout the spring as the process continues.

"Those guys are going to work," Riley said. "They're going to go practice and they're going to get better just like the rest of the team. They've all had very strong offseasons and are doing a great job."

Sign up for our newsletters

Sports editor

Vic Reynolds is a journalism sophomore and The Daily's sports editor. Previously he served as a sports reporter covering OU's football, softball and wrestling teams.

Load comments