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2014 Oklahoma Sooners Football Preview | The Return Of The Defensive Line

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

A strong defensive front has been a staple for Oklahoma football for long, long time now but just twelve months ago DT Quincy Russell was deemed to have been the savior of the defensive line going into the 2013 season. Thirteen games later the Sooners had limited opposing offenses to 138 rushing yards per game (down from 192 in `12), and had a line that recorded 33 sacks, while Russell played in just two games and recorded only three tackles.

It isn't a knock on Russell as much as it is major props to defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery for his ability to revamp the schemes and develop players. Making the situation even better, Montgomery will enter the 2014 season with everyone back.

2014 Oklahoma Defensive Ends

#

Name

POS

HT

WT

YR

HOME

90

Dimon, Matt

DE

6-2

271

So.

Katy, Texas (Katy HS)

49

Driskill, David

DE

6-1

257

Sr.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (Casady HS)

99

Orso, Dwayne

DE

6-6

300

Fr.

Birmingham, Ala. (Homewood HS)

91

Tapper, Charles

DE

6-4

281

Jr.

Baltimore, Md. (City College HS)

96

Tate, Mitch

DE

6-4

252

RJr.

Bartlesville, Okla. (Bartlesville HS)

87

Ward, D.J.

DE

6-2

256

RFr.

Moore, Okla. (Southmoore HS)

Junior Charles Tapper was a First-Team All Big XII selection by the coaches in 2013 after recording 49 tackles (9 for loss) and 5.5 sacks. He'll be a force coming off the edge, in what could be his final season at OU, and, with the pass rushers Oklahoma will have in the linebacker corps, will be a difficult challenge for opposing offensive coordinators.

2104 Oklahoma Defensive Tackles

#

Name

Pos

HT

WT

YR

HOME

58

Frazier, Chase

DT

5-11

291

RFr.

Grapevine, Texas (Grapevine HS)

50

Garnett, Courtney

DT

6-2

284

Fr.

New Orleans, La. (Saint Augustine HS)

98

Ndulue, Chuka

DT

6-3

289

RSr.

Dallas, Texas (Dallas Jesuit Prep)

94

Peterson, Torrea

DT

6-3

300

RSr.

San Antonio, Texas (East Central HS)

80

Phillips, Jordan

DT

6-6

334

RSo.

Towanda, Kan. (Circle HS)

92

Romar, Matthew

DT

6-0

287

RFr.

Port Arthur, Texas (Memorial HS)

95

Russell, Quincy

DT

6-4

310

Sr.

San Antonio, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)

59

Snowden, Kane

DT

6-0

247

RSo.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (Westmoore HS)

93

Wade, Jordan

DT

6-4

314

RSo.

Round Rock, Texas (Stony Point HS)

97

Walker, Charles

DT

6-2

296

RFr.

Garland, Texas (South Garland HS)

By all accounts Jordan Phillips is set to return to the middle of Oklahoma's defensive line after missing the majority of 2013 with a back injury. Phillips has All-Conference potential and is an athletic mass of a man in the middle of the line. Senior Chuka Ndulue is listed as a tackle but can easily move to the edge in order to give Oklahoma potential mismatches in their 3-4 scheme.

The Sooners are deep on the line and multiple players will have their turn in the rotation. You can almost make the argument that there's too much talent to play just three at a time but I think you'll see more than that on the field anyway. With guys like Ndulue having the athleticism to line up at multiple positions there's sure to be more than one occasion where Oklahoma's "3-4 front" features more than three of the linemen.

The bottom line is that Oklahoma's defensive front should be the best in the conference and potentially on par with the great lines the team has produced in previous seasons.