The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 21, 2008

Experience not a problem on D-line

Questions have been raised about Oklahoma’s secondary and linebackers. Their lack of experience leaves some wondering whether the defensive standards will dip in 2008.

But none of those questions pertain to the defensive line. OU knows what it has this season — quite possibly the best collection of down linemen it has put on the field in the Bob Stoops era.

“We feel like we have a chance to be as good as we have been up front since 2004, which was an awfully talented group with Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson at end and then players inside like Lynn McGruder and Dusty Dvoracek. We think that our front four guys are very talented.”

However, the difference between this season and 2004, or any other year in the last decade, is the shear depth the Sooners have up front.

In the three-deep at defensive end and two-deep at defensive tackle, there are nine players who started games last season.

Defensive end Auston English leads the list. He led the Big 12 in sacks last year with 91⁄2 and was named the conference’s preseason defensive player of the year.

He has the ability to be the most disruptive player in the conference. All his sacks last season came in the first nine games. A broken leg caused him to miss three starts and he wasn’t full strength for either the Big 12 championship game or the Fiesta Bowl.

Accolades aside, he believes his motor is running at the same level it did early last year.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a snap and I’m real hungry and real thirsty to get back out there and do the whole thing all over again,” he said.

He’s not alone.

Joining English at the end spots are Alan Davis, Jeremy Beal, Frank Alexander and sixth-year senior John Williams.

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