Oklahoma Sooners Football: The emergence of Du’Vonta Lampkin is a game changer for Oklahoma

Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Lately, the outside narrative for the Oklahoma Sooners has been that they’re all offense and no defense. In a matter of one week, that narrative is starting to shift after a strong showing from the defense against TCU on Saturday night. They say great defense starts up front. Well, if that’s the case, redshirt sophomore Du’Vonta Lampkin is a guy who takes up virtually the whole front all by himself. Yet even at 6’4” and 335 pounds, it’s his talent that really stands out on the field.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Houston native’s size is certainly nothing to be overlooked. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger defensive lineman in the conference (UPDATE: I just looked it up. He’s the largest DL in the Big 12). in the conference. With his immense stature comes a natural, raw power. During fall camp, defensive tackle coach Ruffin McNeill said Lampkin is “one of the most powerful individuals I’ve ever coached in my 37 years of coaching.” That’s quite substantial praise, and after watching him play, I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration.

Coach Riley also spoke about Lampkin in his Monday press conference, noting how his potential has only been slowed because of reasons related to his maturity. Early in the season, Lampkin missed some time for academic reasons. Ever since then, Lampkin has done all the right things and is becoming a steadily growing force in the middle, coming at a time when the Sooners could use the defensive push.

The TCU game was a coming out party for Lampkin. It may seem as though he played like man possessed, but really he played like a Du’Vonta Lampkin firing on all cylinders. His final stat line of four tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss aren’t record-breaking figures by any stretch, but the kind of impact Lampkin can have on a game may never show itself on a box score. Speaking of his one sack, though, take a look at this powerful bull rush against the hapless TCU center:

This play is the perfect example of how powerful Lampkin truly is. First of all, the center is Austin Schlottmann, a 6’6” 300 pound senior lineman with a strong track record. Lampkin manhandles Schlottmann by driving him back a whole 10 yards. In doing so, he disrupts TCU QB Kenny Hill’s drop back and with one outstretch of his goliath-like arm he grabs Hill and brings him to the turf. This is the kind of play you’ll normally see on a high school highlight film because the disparity in strength is so great between any given players. It’s more of a rarity in college where the caliber of athlete is typically more level.

Here is another example of the strength Lampkin brings to the fold in the trenches. TCU running back Kyle Hicks takes the handoff and starts to cut up field, but before he knows it he’s being engulfed by Du’Vonta the behemoth.

Now Kyle Hicks is no slouch of a runner, nor is he slight of build. Even at 210 pounds, Lampkin wraps him up and slings him backwards like a man wrestling a child. It’s not only impressive on film, it’s a game changer on the field. The rest of the defense feeds off of plays like this.

Going forward in his career, Lampkin can play an even bigger role on defense with his ability to make plays while getting blocked. Much like his bull rush play, here he creates separation from the center and gets to the running back in the backfield.

Just making the running back change direction or reconsider other running lanes is enough to be a difference maker in college football. By adding in the tackle, Lampkin can become a consistent game changer.

With Oklahoma having its goals set firmly on a playoff run, the continued growth and presence of Du’Vonta Lampkin will be critical. The offense can and most presumably will do its part. That means it’ll be up to guys like Lampkin and the rest of the defense as a whole to replicate their dominating performance from Saturday night, holding up their side of the championship equation.

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Comments

#We2Deep

Agree

Lampkin’s emergence is just what we need just when we need it.

Lincoln Riley really seems to have this team going in the right direction at the right time. One thing for sure – nobody in the SEC has seen anything like us, especially like we’re playing now. I hope we get a shot at Alabama.

I hope

Alabama gets their shot at US!!! Boomer Sooner!!!

Very impressive sack by Lampkin

and he blew up that play with only a 3 man rush! They double teamed our other 2 pass rushers on the play and leaked a back around Obo’s side where poor Obo was trying to cover/contain from 10 yards back. Lampkin not only got that sack by driving back the center and ripping that qb down by the guy’s sleeve, but probably saved a big play otherwise. It seemed to me all their big gains came when we used only a 3 man line (prevent defense). Mike Stoopes will hopefully realize before WV and the B12 championship game that in the majority of cases, a prevent defense prevents nothing and utilizing Obo in pass coverage is simply a waste of his considerable talent. Great job and thank you Mr. Lampkin!

This Obo pass coverage nonsense should be stopped by Riley.

Riley is the HC allowing this to continue is on him. We mostly all agree about Mike Stoops defensive schemes. At some point Riley has to step in and say don’t do that.

To be sure

It’s not our best look, but cover 3 over with a mix of zones underneath belies our situation in coverage. Those are babies back there. Now, the funny thing is, because they are so young and don’t know the shading habits to try and cover up other guys (JTs biggest issue in my mind) and they just do what they are coached to do could have made the impact neccessary to make the defensive performance we gave work. It won’t work on OSU because of Mason Rudolph, and I doubt it will work on Greer, but the signs point towards us gelling as a defensive unit at the right time. Of course, take that with a grain salt, Mike never ceases to keep things interesting on my heart.

Thank you for cleaning up the threads

No problem

Some thoughts

1. With Lampkin becoming a horse in the middle, it makes the 3-4 scheme we have to run more effective. I wish he was an everydown kind of guy, but his presence is the tip of a spear and will force running games outside where our speed can flourish.
2. Never seen a sack like that beyond ,like was said, the high school level. That looked like something out of hudl video.
3. If we are in the process of implimenting a true 4-3, what is Lampkin in the one hole with Gally/Q in the 3 and Ward/Mann and Obo draping the 4-5 gaps gonna do to people in the next few games? That is a hostile defensive line all the sudden.

While it's nice to see him succeed...

…I can’t believe defensive coordinators are going to allow him to be blocked one-on-one by a center in the future as was the case in the majority of his highlights. Going forward, it’s paramount that he and the rest of the line keep their energy up when the inevitable double teams begin.

Mike's savior

With the emergence of Du’Vonta Lampkin, and the Freshman d backs Mike Stoops may keep his job. I hate it but true

Lets not go that far...

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