Spring Game: Defensive Report Card

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated grades out the different defensive units in Saturday's Red-White Game.

Defensive line: B+

The D-line didn't exactly pressure the heck out of the quarterbacks, coming up with just one sack between the two teams in 50 minutes of live game time. That sack was registered to defensive tackle Casey Walker, who finished with just that one tackle. The line also came up with only a pair of tackles for loss, one each by the Red Team's Chuka Ndulue and White Team's Stacy McGee. Geneo Grissom led this unit for the Red Team with two tackles, while Ndulue did so for the White Team with his three. This unit will certainly improve with time, still suffering from the loss of guys like Jeremy Beal and Adrian Taylor. But it clamped up in the second half.

Linebackers: A

Corey Nelson was perhaps the highlight of the scrimmage. Players and coaches have been raving about this guy all throughout the spring, and he showcased it Saturday afternoon by flying all over the field and picking up four tackles. Caleb Gastelum, Jaydan Bird and the trash talking king Travis Lewis all managed a tackle for loss. Tom Wort led his White Team and the entire linebacking corps with six tackles, while Bird finished with five on the other side. This group came together as the day went along and really showed it's going to be a force to be reckoned with due to the leadership and ability of players such as Lewis and Austin Box.

Secondary: B+

They got burnt for some big shots over the top early, but they definitely showed their potential as well, especially in the second half, just like the line. It's a youthful, inexperience group, yet very talented one. Strong safety Aaron Colvin and cornerbacks Gabe Lynn and Demontre Hurst each had picks for their respective squads, and Lynn even recorded a sack. The upside is magnificent for this group, as evidenced in the contest.

Special teams: A-

Other than Patrick O'Hara's 49-yard miss, the place kickers were very consistent. Michael Hunnicutt drilled a pair of field goals from 40 and 36 yards out, while Jimmy Stevens also hit two, one from 28 and the other from 25. Tress Way also boomed the ball in the punting game despite dropping a snap on one of the plays. This has been perhaps the most inconsistent unit in recent years, and that will need to change for OU to have a legitimate national championship run. Maybe Saturday was a start.

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