NORMAN — The walls surrounding Oklahoma already seemed to be crumbling after Saturday’s loss to Texas. More of the facade that the Sooners erected in their first five games fell away Monday.
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips is scheduled to have season-ending back surgery today. Sooner coach Bob Stoops made the announcement Monday afternoon at his weekly press conference.
“He’s had a chronic back issue. It isn’t one specific injury. It’s something that’s bothered him for the last couple of years that’s not improving like they want it to.”
Phillips, a sophomore, started this season’s first four games. He was held out of the last two games due to the back issue.
Phillips only made seven tackles, but was a disruptive force on the interior defensive line. Without him, OU will continue to rotate redshirt freshman Jordan Wade and junior Torrea Peterson at the defensive tackle spot.
Stoops said losing Phillips will not change the scheme of the defense. But it’s a crippling blow to the unit that looked to be the Sooners’ unquestioned strength in the first month of the season.
Now OU has lost its nose guard to go along with
linebacker Corey Nelson, who suffered a season-ending pectoral injury on Oct. 5. Nelson will join Phillips at the hospital today. He’s also scheduled to have surgery.
“It’s gonna have a big impact on us guys on the d-line because he made such a big impact,” OU defensive end Charles Tapper said about the loss of Phillips Monday night. “He dominated the middle and was like a big brother to the whole d-line. Losing him is mentally hard as much as it is physical.”
It couldn’t come at worse time for the Sooners. The defense is going through changes due to personnel losses. The loss of Phillips along with Nelson removes two defensive pillars.