NEW ORLEANS —
Only nose guard Jordan Wade comes close to weighing 300 pounds. Defensive end Chuka Ndulue bulked up to 285 season, which is close to the ideal weight for a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. Charles Tapper is still at least 15 pounds below his target weight. Linebackers Frank Shannon, Dominique Alexander and Eric Striker all weigh less than 230 pounds. It’s good for chasing slot receivers in the middle of the field. Bad for butting heads with interior offensive linemen.
“We’ve got to go out there and be technicians on the field, stick to our technique like we’ve been doing all season; go out there and throw off blocks, don’t let them hold us tight, and third downs, we’ve got to finesse those guys,” Tapper said.
Easier said than done. Tactics are essential, but so is being physically able to handle the four-quarter grind.
It isn’t the first time this concern has come up. Stoops was frank about it after OU’s victory over Notre Dame in September and was saying the same things after the loss to Texas a couple weeks later.
“We certainly need to make improvements in size at positions to play this system more effectively. I think we’ll be better prepared in a year’s period of time just growing and getting bigger and more physical across the board,” he said.
The Sooners may very well get there with another winter and summer in the weight room. The offseason is when that kind of molding occurs. It doesn’t happen during the regular season and certainly not during bowl preparation.
“We’ve got what we’ve got. We gotta go play,” Striker said.
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