An overflow crowd watched what might have been the best and most spirited Oklahoma drill of the Jack Del Rio era. It was highlighted by a split decision between veteran offensive tackle Khalif Barnes and second-round draft choice Quentin Groves in the feature attraction of the evening.
Del Rio allowed for eight bouts in all. The crowd hooted and hollered throughout the proceedings and then cheered heartily at the drill's conclusion. There were no injuries.
There was, however, an injury from earlier that Del Rio announced after practice.
"We're still trying to determine exactly how long he may be out, but Brad Meester has strained a biceps muscle or tendon and they're going to do an exam and make sure; doctors will look at him. We're concerned he may miss time," Del Rio explained. "We know he's going to miss some time. We're concerned with how much that may turn into. We'll have a better indication in the next couple of days.
"Brad is a little disappointed. He's worked hard and obviously he's a good football player. He has strained something in his other biceps, not the one he had trouble with before, but the other one. So that's an issue right now that we have to resolve."
Barnes, who is attempting to hold off Richard Collier in their competition for the starting left tackle job, used his bulk to push Groves aside on the first thrust. In the second fall, Groves used his quickness to rebound from Barnes' initial thrust, stopping the ball-carrier between the two blocking bags.
Del Rio had the bags placed three yards apart, which most thought was a little tighter than in past years.
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel kicked off the drill with a two-fall victory over second-year man Uche Nwaneri, who is competing with Mo Williams for the starting left guard job.
Collier and defensive end James Wyche squared off in the evening's second bout and Collier won the first fall. Wyche, however, made an impressive "stick" to stop rookie running back Chauncey Washington in the second fall.
Third-year linebacker Clint Ingram turned in a dominant, two-fall win over tight end Charles Davis, and Del Rio followed by giving the crowd a little added flavor with a rare wide receiver vs. cornerback confrontation, as Matt Jones and rookie cornerback Trae Williams stepped between the bags. Jones seemed to get the better of Williams in the second of two rather lackluster falls.
Ah, but undrafted rookie center Drew Miller of Florida picked up where Ingram left off. Miller delivered two loud pops in clearing fifth-round draft choice Thomas Williams, a linebacker from Southern Cal, out of the way.
Second-year linebacker Justin Durant scored a two-fall victory over undrafted rookie tight Chris Brown, leaving veterans Vince Manuwai (pictured) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy to conclude the drill.
Manuwai is one of the most powerful run-blocking guards in the league. Kennedy, a former first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams, is attempting to reclaim his career and he took a step in the right direction on Monday evening.
After Manuwai moved Kennedy aside in the first fall, Kennedy came off the ball hard in the second fall, holding firm at the point of attack and delivering a punishing blow to Washington that caused the running back to fumble.
A crowd of 3,264 refused to have their spirits dampened by late-afternoon storms.