The Norman Transcript

OU Football

March 31, 2014

Sooner defensive line appears to be deepest and most talented position group

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Sophomore Hatari Byrd is poised to take over the safety spot Gabe Lynn vacated after last season. Ahmad Thomas is also working at two of the safety spots.

Mike Stoops admits the numbers are low. OU signed safeties Steven Parker (Jenks) and Vontre McQuinnie (DeSote, Texas) in February. Looks like they’ll have ample opportunities for playing time.

“We’re playing a walk-on as our backup No. 2 safety so there’s going to be opportunities,” Mike Stoops said. “Hopefully, those guys will come in and produce for us. They’re going to have to.”

Faster at linebacker: The benefit of middle linebacker Frank Shannon and weakside linebacker Dominique Franks playing virtually every down last season has been displayed in the spring.

“The experience is so valuable. As good as those guys are, just playing a whole year in this system, I think they understand it much better,” Mike Stoops said. “We’ve seen a lot of different schemes and hopefully we can react to plays better. I thought in games we were a little slow in adjusting and reacting to things just because we hadn’t experienced that before.”

All eyes and ears on Knight: Quarterback Trevor Knight has the starting quarterback job. He’s also adjusting to the added weight his actions and words now carry on the field and in the locker room.

“It kind of puts you in position. It forces you to step up and be that leader,” he said. “I feel like guys are looking at me to be that guy and I felt like I’ve done a good job of being that and they’re following pretty good.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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