MOORE — The only player on Oklahoma’s defensive line with starting experience is senior Chuka Ndulue. He’s making the move from defensive end to defensive tackle this year.
In every sense, the Sooners are rebuilding the defensive line. This will be the first year under new defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery. And there are going to be several players getting their first real game action this season.
If OU coach Bob Stoops is concerned, he showed a good poker face Saturday at the Sooners’ Media Day.
“I believe there’s some capable guys coming up and they’re going to have a chance to be good players,” he said. “They just haven’t had the chance to be on the field as much yet. Again, there’s different positions every year that that’s very much the case.”
Stoops threw out the analogy of OU’s wide receivers last season. The group entered preseason camp very thin. But freshman Sterling Shepard emerged, the addition of Penn State transfer Justin Brown was a major boost and getting Jalen Saunders eligible midway through the season helped make the group one of the best in the Big 12.
Nonetheless, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said an essential element for the unit to improve is some impact defensive linemen.
The head coach feels like the potential is there, but admitted there’s a difference between being impactful and playing like an All-American.
“We feel we have some guys that are capable of being like that. Is there Gerald McCoy? No,” Stoops said. “That’s not going to happen every year either.”
Slowing down? Bob Stoops hinted at Big 12 Media Days that OU might slow down the pace of the offense to help out the defense this season.
Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel hopes that isn’t the case.