OU football: Lincoln Riley says Sooners' return to practice has 'been a long time coming'
NORMAN — With both players and coaches wearing masks, OU returned to the practice field Friday.
Sooners coach Lincoln Riley, speaking with SoonerSportsTV after practice, said outside of the masks not much was different from a typical first day of preseason camp.
“We’ve gone for seven days now in the OTA period and even in that, we’ve done team drills with guys up next to each other,” Riley said.
“As everybody knows, we tested again and had no positives. We feel like what we’re doing is working. It’s not as much about what we’re doing as far as the drill. It’s limiting unnecessary times where guys are not socially distant and then everybody keeping their face covered.”
After having seven positive COVID-19 tests in the initial round of testing July 1, to go with seven active cases before that round of testing among football players, the Sooners have had no positives among either players or staffers in four consecutive rounds of weekly testing.
Riley said no players had, at least so far, decided to sit out the season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Because of the Sooners’ season-opener being moved up a week to Aug. 29 to facilitate testing between games, OU was able to start practice a week early.
The game against Missouri State was originally scheduled for Sept. 5.
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The status of that game and the rest of the season remains in limbo, though.
The Big 12 is the only of the Power 5 conferences that has yet to alter its schedule. The SEC, Big Ten and Pac 12 have eliminated non-conference games, while the ACC is planning to have its teams play one non-conference, in-state game.
The SEC’s decision, announced Thursday, eliminated one of OU’s non-conference games.
The Sooners were scheduled to host Tennessee on Sept. 12.
Big 12 presidents are expected to be presented with several scheduling models Monday in a virtual meeting.
The options figure to include a 10-game model including one non-conference game and a conference-only model.
Riley said even though the team had been doing some organized team activities recently, in accordance with the NCAA’s modified calendar, it was nice to be back on the practice field with the full group.
“It’s been 143 days. It’s been a long time coming,” Riley said. “You could feel it in the atmosphere today. Guys were eager to be out there. Maybe even more than a normal opening to camp. They're always fun but this one had kind of a different feel to it.“