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March 29, 2013

Shinn at 3p.m.: New defensive strategy will be tested in September

NORMAN — How much Oklahoma’s defensive line changes won’t be known until it faces real competition in September. Head coach Bob Stoops’ decision to hire Jerry Montgomery away from Michigan in February showed he wants the groups’ play to change.

“We have a new coach, a new philosophy,” defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue said. “It’s the same principles, just a different approach.”

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said the change Montgomery is trying to make is to make OU’s style of play less read-and-react .

“Now we’re going right at them,” he said.

Playing successful defense in the Big 12 Conference requires defensive lineman wreaking havoc. The Sooners only had 55 tackles for loss last season and just 25 of those were generated by defensive linemen. Montgomery wants to increase those totals.

“We want to knock the line of scrimmage back, we want to play blocks and we want to restrict blocks,” Montgomery said. “It’s a grown man’s game; it’s a violent game. They have to learn to play with their face and their hands. Until they do that, it’s going to be physical practices out there. It’s a grown-man’s game. With the way people are spreading you out, you’re short in the box. You have to be physical up front.”

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