Cincinnati Bengals Sunday Preview: The Oklahoma Drill

Matt GrayContributor IJuly 28, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Offensive lineman Reid Fragel #79 of the Cincinnati Bengals works out during a rookie camp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 12, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Oklahoma Drill is a firm favorite among Cincinnati Bengals fans and is guaranteed to draw a crowd for its 2013 edition this afternoon, as per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

For those uninitiated, the premise is as follows: Two players line up three yards apart, facing each other. At the sound of the whistle, they run at each other and the drill is over when one puts the other on the floor, or if a ball-carrier is tackled. If a player is able to drive the defender out of the corridor (the borders often defined by spectating teammates), that also ends the drill.

There's technical skill at play here. But mostly, it's about effort, intensity and camaraderie.

The drill is not widely used in the NFL due to the high risk of injury it presents, and the Bengals are one of few teams who run it.

With a swarm of teammates surrounding you, cheering you on, it's easy for a player to go overboard. They may perhaps be a little more aggressive and more physical than they normally would. Factor in offseason bodies that aren't quite back to being NFL ready, and you're looking at potential tweaks and strains.

The Bengals have already faced a scare in the form of A.J. Green's knee bruise and won't want to add any names to the list.

Regardless, it proved a highlight of the Bengals' 2009 Hard Knocks appearance, and with the cameras rolling once again, that looks set to continue.

Safety Roy Williams and wide receiver Mo Purify were two of those selected in 2009, earning themselves a great cameo in the HBO series.

So who can we look forward to seeing at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday?

The big names tend to shy away from this risky drill, for obvious reasons.

Fans will be eager to see more of Vontaze Burfict, who seems to bring excitement whenever he puts a helmet on. While top-blocker Orson Charles could also provide for a good matchup.

It would be interesting to see some of the candidates vying for the starting strong safety spot show their mettle—particularly rookie Shawn Williams.

Could we even see Margus Hunt get a shot? It certainly wouldn't come as a surprise if the 6'8" defensive end were to unleash a Hulk Hogan-style big boot on an unwitting opponent.

The man most are hoping to see is the Bengals' new "Sam" linebacker, James Harrison. While you might expect the veteran to sit out a risky drill such as this one, you can expect No. 92 to be ready and willing to assert his dominance. He'll be hoping to put an end to constant questions about his age and health with HBO's cameras there to capture it.

For those in attendance, the Oklahoma drill will bring some oft-lacking excitement to proceedings on Sunday afternoon. While others will hold their breath, cross their fingers and pray to the football gods for an injury-free session.