Bob Stoops is pleased with the progress of his defense this spring. Where they were focusing on learning their positions a year ago, this spring they're deep into their defensive schemes and positions. Its the difference between having a group of youngsters vs. a group of veterans.
"We're light years ahead of a year ago. A year ago we weren't in systems yet. Now we're not only in it, we're expanding it and thinking smooth and polishing it out," Stoops said after Tuesday's practice.
One of the keys to Oklahoma's defensive improvement could be the development of linebacker Devante Bond. A three-star junior college early enrollee from Sierra Community College, Bond has been explosive this spring. Still trying to figure out his responsibilities in certain schemes, Bond has shown that he physically has the tool set to be a difference maker for this team. He's also drawing high praise from Coach Stoops, who has no issues comparing him to All-Conference linebacker Eric Striker.
"...he's got a great natural, knack for doing it (rushing the quarterback) like Eric (Striker)," Stoops said of Devante Bond on Tuesday.
The race to replace Aaron Colvin at corner is a three-man competition and it is really close. Stanvon Taylor, Dakota Austin, and Cortez Johnson have all had shining moments, with none of them having yet to separate as a top guy to line up opposite of Zack Sanchez.
Oklahoma's defense rebounded from 2012 to allow a Big Twelve best 336.3 yards per game last fall. With a majority of the starters back in 2014, they will be expected to be one of the top defensive units in the conference. While expectations are always high in Norman, this defense appears to be just a few pieces of the puzzle away from legitimately warranting those expectations this season, and it looks like those pieces could very well be falling into place.