Preview 2018: Oklahoma Sooners. What Needs Fixing To Win It All?

Preview 2018: Oklahoma Sooners. What Needs Fixing To Win It All?

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Oklahoma Sooners. What Needs Fixing To Win It All?

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What You Need To Know About The Oklahoma Defense

– Four of the top six tacklers are gone, and replacing top pass rushers Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and D.J. Ward will be an issue, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has a great base to work with. The OU D allowed close to 400 yards and 27 points per game, and it should be around there again considering the Big 12 offenses should take a step back overall.

– Can Mark Jackson be the next Okoronkwo? The 6-1, 235-pounder has the size and has waited his turn, but he needs to be a playmaker behind the line in the hybrid role. Second-leading tackler Kenneth Murray and junior Caleb Kelly are good ones on the inside, and the other outside spot will be a revolving door for a bit. Overall, the linebackers will be good, and the line will be more than solid, too.

Neville Gallimore and Marquise Overton aren’t massive, but they can handle themselves on the inside, Kenneth Mann is a good veteran on the outside, and in the mix early on should be star recruits Ronnie Perkins, Jalen Redmond and Ron Tatum as part of the mix in some way.

– The corners should be amazing. Considering how much teams bombed away to try keeping up, the Sooners did a solid job, allowing 238 yards per game and 23 scores. Tre Norwood and Parnell Motley are young, but they can play. Motley was fourth on the team in tackles with 63 stops, and Norwood grew into a starter and was great late. There’s enough depth to play around with the options, too.

The safety situation isn’t quite as settled with Steven Parker and Will Johnson gone after combining for 125 stops. There’s an interesting mix of veterans who waited their turn, and young prospects with the talent to start right away. Brendan Radley-Hines was the team’s top recruit and will start somewhere in the secondary – he’ll take over one of the safety gigs when he’s ready.

Biggest Key To The Oklahoma Defense

The pass rush has to be more explosive despite losing the key parts. The OU defense generated 30+ sacks a year on a regular basis for several years, but last year it almost never exploded in any one game – the Sooners finished eighth in the Big 12 in tackles for loss – and failed to generated two or more sacks in six games.

Overall, the defense was good and it will be again. Come up with two or more sacks a game every game, and the D has the talent and upside to be dominant.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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