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2010 Oklahoma Football Preview: Defensive Line

Oklahoma is replacing quite possibly the best defensive tackle they've had since Tony Casillas this year but the next great Sooner defensive lineman could very well be on campus. The success of Oklahoma's rotation of defensive linemen is going to hinge greatly on two things. First, the health of Adrian Taylor's ankle. Second, the maturation of Casey Walker, Stacey McGee and Jamarkus McFarland.

Defensive Line Two Deep

CB                      Jeremy Beal Casey Walker Stacey McGee  Frank Alexander                    CB
David King Adrian Taylor Jamarkus McFarland R.J. Washington
OLB MLB OLB
SS FS

 

Frank Alexander is out of this Saturday's game against Utah State but once healthy he and Beal will make up one of the better defensive end tandems in the Big 12. Alexander became the full-time starter against Texas A&M (10th game) last season and delivered some pretty impressive performances. In total he recorded 23 tackles (7 for loss) and 1.5 sacks. They'll get by fine without him against Utah State but sure could use him against Florida State.

In between the ends is quite possibly the must uncertain unit of the entire team. Last year Adrian Taylor had a standout season lined up next to Gerald McCoy. He recorded a career high 37 tackles including 7 for loss. The problem is that he's recovering from a nasty ankle injury suffered in the Sun Bowl and still has a bit of an uncertain status. Bob Stoops said that they'd like him to get between 15-20 snaps on Saturday but he's still being listed as a game time decision. Other than Taylor the rest of the tackles in the rotation are sophomores. Jamarkus McFarland saw limited action in seven games last season and recorded 8 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He's the most experienced in the group of sophomores as McGee and Walker only saw limited play in two and three games respectively, recording two tackles each.

The anchor of the defensive line is Jeremy Beal. The senior defensive end was first-team all conference last season after recording 70 tackles (19 for loss), 11 sacks and an interception. He'll be working with sophomores as well on the other end with the injury to Alexander. David King saw limited action in four game last season, only recording 1 tackle, while R.J. Washington recorded three tackles in the same number of games. 

Due to the inexperience at the tackle spot its very conceivable (and has even been hinted at by the coaches) that the Sooners will move away from their typical 4-3 scheme to a 3-4, moving The Hammer to a pass rushing end spot.