The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

March 29, 2013

For now, Sooners content to stick with four down linemen

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Learning the reads: With the Sooners installing some quarterback runs this spring, the defense is getting some extra work against the zone read.

“That read option is kind of hard,” nickelback Julian Wilson said. “But, hey, you’ve got to face it some time. Better to get it out of the way now in spring so when we face it in the season we know what to do.”

Relying on the linebackers: OU is rebuilding its defense after losing eight starters from last season’s squad. Mike Stoops said the one spot he’s convinced is ready to play at high level are the linebackers.

“Well, I think those three linebackers — when you look at Frank Shannon, Aaron Franklin and Corey Nelson — I’ll put those three guys against anybody. We feel very strong,” he said. “… It’s one of the strongest groups on our team. It might not be depth-wise, but in this league, the most you can ever play with is two linebackers. Everybody makes a big deal about that, but there’s nobody that plays with three in our league. When you don’t play a tight end, in two-backs, you’re not gonna play with three linebackers. We’re trying to get at least two on the field. We played with one, sometimes none last year, but that part of our defense we’re trying to tweak.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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