The Jaguars will make a return to old-time football this evening when they reenact the annual Oklahoma drill in the first full-pads practice of training camp.
"It's fun for the fans; for them coming out and watching. It's mostly over the top for us. It's for the fans coming out," Jaguars defensive lineman Derek Landri said.
A large crowd is expected at the Jaguars' Jacksonville Municipal Stadium practice facility for the seven p.m. practice. The Oklahoma drill is usually conducted early in the practice and on the field closest to the grandstands.
Here's how it works:
• A blocker and a tackler will engage in a tight area defined by two blocking bags placed five yards apart. An exchange from center to quarterback to running back will send the back between the two bags. The blocker's intent is to provide passage for the back. The tackler's intent is to defeat the block, shed the blocker and make the tackle.
"For us, if we can keep from getting moved off the ball and make the back pick a side, that's a victory. An overwhelming victory would be for us to tackle the back. If we're moved outside the chute (outside the blocking bags), then it's a loss," defensive line coach Ted Monachino said.
"The guy who is lower usually wins," Landri said.
A potential feature attraction may pit veteran offensive tackle Khalif Barnes against rookie defensive end Quentin Groves, the team's highest-drafted rookie in camp. Barnes, of course, is in a heated competition with Richard Collier for the left tackle position.
"I probably liked it more when I was a rookie, when the competition is steady going in and you are trying to prove what you got. I would not be hurt if I did not have to do it. Sometimes I get called on and sometimes I don't. If I do, then I just go out there and do it and if not then I just sit back and enjoy it," Barnes said.
Groves, 6-3, 259, is a pass-rush specialist and the Oklahoma is a run-defense drill, but Groves is a high-profile player in this training camp and he'll no doubt have the fans' attention this evening.
"I did it in college. Toward the end of my career, they slacked off on it a little bit. I like it but to a certain extent, it's a drill. If you are a 300-pound defensive end, it's kind of easy, but if you are 255 or 260 like me, it's kind of tough because you have to get in shape really quick," Groves said.
The Oklahoma has traditionally been used by coaches as a tempo-setter for the start of full-contact practices. Del Rio has used it that way and as a lure for fans. The Oklahoma traditionally draws the biggest crowd of training camp, other than for the intrasquad scrimmage.
"I like the physical part of the game and I always look forward to getting our pads on," Del Rio said.
"We feel the extra energy just running out there on the field," tight end Marcedes Lewis said.
The Oklahoma has long been a springboard for young linemen eager to make a name for themselves. This year's top candidate might be Florida center Drew Miller, an undrafted free agent.
"I like it," Miller said of the Oklahoma. "It's a lot of fun. It gets everyone's juices going. Any drill we do I'm trying to make a name for myself. It's going to be hard to make the team. I want the coaches to notice my potential."