The Oklahoma Sooners--Now There's A Defense

Playing in the tough Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma has seen offenses thought to be far superior than that of Boise State. In that environment, the Sooner defense has played at a level that the Bronco defense wishes it could play at.

The Oklahoma Sooner defense is a model of what others aspire to.  Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach Brent Venables has built a consistent system since arriving in Norman seven years ago.  In that time, he has coached three first team All-American linebackers and 10 LB's that went on to the National Football League.

 

This season, Oklahoma ranks 18th in the nation in rushing defense, 37th in passing defense, 17th in total defense and 17th in scoring defense.  The Sooners allow just 15.3 points a game.  Oklahoma ranks seventh in pass efficiency defense.  They do not allow yards outside, with tremendous speed from their linebackers and defensive ends.  Oklahoma sports a powerful pass rush and talented but young secondary.

 

The hard-hitting Sooners have forced 12 fumbles and picked off 17 passes, to go with 23 sacks and 134 tackles for loss this season.  Oklahoma excels the most when the game is on the line, as they rank 10th in the country in third-down defense, allowing a stingy 30% of third-down conversions.

 

Rufus Alexander is the heart and soul of the Sooner defense.  Alexander finished the regular season with 101 tackles and 10 and a half for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception, three pass deflections and three quarterback hurries.  He's joined by middle linebacker Zach Latimer (6-1, 234, Sr.) and sophomore Curtis Lofton (6-0, 235) at the Sam position.  Latimer also is a "do everything" linebacker.  He had 80 tackles, 10 for loss, three interceptions, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries.  Lofton has 33 tackles this season with 4.5 for loss.

 

Free safety Darien Williams (6-0, 197, Jr.) brings a strong aggressive stance to the Sooner secondary.  He will be all over the field.  Williams is the third-leading tackler with 67 stops, has 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

 

Line play is always important, but especially in a big game.  Oklahoma's front four has dominated opponents this year.  Seniors Larry Birdine (6-3, 258) and Calvin Thibodeaux (6-1, 248) are the ends while Steven Coleman (6-4, 299, Jr.) and sophomore Cory Bennett (6-2, 278) control the inside.  This group is known for outstanding conditioning with motors that run on high the entire game.

 

Senior C.J. Ah You (6-4, 275) is an All-Big 12 selection who will see plenty of action at one defensive end as well.  Ah You has 39 tackles, 8.5 for loss, four sacks and seven quarterback hurries this season.  He is known for relentless pursuit and crushing hits on opposing quarterbacks.   Birdine has 37 stops, 6.5 for loss, two sacks and five hurries.  Thibodeaux has 29 tackles, 7.5 for loss with a sack, an interception, a forced fumble a pass breakup and five quarterback hurries.  Coleman has 15 tackles, five for loss with three sacks.  Bennett has 26 stops with a tackle for loss.

 

Nic Harris (6-3, 226) is essentially another linebacker that plays in the secondary.  Harris has 63 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, two sacks, four interceptions, eight breakups and five quarterback hurries. 

 

Strong safety Reggie Smith (6-1, 197, So.) is a budding star for Coach Stoops.  Smith has three interceptions and eight pass breakups this season.  The cornerbacks are Marcus Walker (5-11, 192, Jr.), who has nine breakups and Lendy Holmes (6-1, 196, So.), who has seven.

 

This is the Oklahoma depth chart as shown this morning on the official Oklahoma athletic site, soonersports.com.

 

 

 

 

 Defense

 

 DE

 92 Larry Birdine

6-3

258

Sr.

 

 99 C.J. Ah You

6-4

275

Sr.

 DT

 90 Steven Coleman 

6-4

299

Jr.

 

 68 Carl Pendleton

6-5

269

Jr.

 DT

 97 Cory Bennett 

6-2

278

So.

 

 96 DeMarcus Granger

6-3

300

RFr.

 DE

 58 Calvin Thibodeaux

6-1

248

Sr.

 

 91 Alonzo Dotson

6-3

252

Jr.

 SLB

 40 Curtis Lofton

6-0

235

So.

 

 51 Demarrio Pleasant

6-2

231

Jr.

 MLB

 46 Zach Latimer

6-1

234

Sr.

 

 40 Curtis Lofton

6-0

235

So.

 WLB

 42 Rufus Alexander

6-1

230

Sr.

 

 16 Lewis Baker

6-2

210

Jr.

 CB

 24 Marcus Walker

5-11

192

Jr.

 

 11 Lendy Holmes

6-1

196

So.

 SS

 3 Reggie Smith

6-1

197

So

 

 6 Jason Carter

5-10

199

Sr.

 FS

 41 Darien Williams

6-0

197

Jr.

 

 20 Quinton Carter

6-1

190

Fr.

 CB

 11 Lendy Holmes

6-1

196

So.

 

 25 D.J. Wolfe

6-0

196

Jr.

 NB

 5 Nic Harris

6-3

226

So.

 

 11 Lendy Holmes

6-1

196

So.


 

 



 
 





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