Analyzing the First Preseason Depth Chart

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners just released their first preseason football depth chart this weekend, and Sooners Illustrated breaks down what stands out inside.

--Daryl Williams is at starting right tackle--With the progress of Josh Aladenoye in the spring and his participation as a backup during 2010, most had him pegged as the starter heading into fall camp. Not the case, which means Williams must have made a serious leap towards the end of spring. His switch from left to right has opened the way for Lane Johnson to move into the backup spot at left and made a serious competition between Williams and Aladenoye at right.

--DeJuan Miller has reasserted himself in a starting role at wideout--The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder tore his meniscus last year but made considerable strides in his recovery in time for a breakout spring game performance, which featured six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. That knocks Trey Franks off the one-line of the two-deep and behind Ryan Broyles at the slot.

--Roy Finch is unlisted on the two-deep--Most likely it's for medical reasons. In the spring, Finch was still battling repercussions of that original stress fracture that resurfaced and sidelined him for the bowl game. As he continues to get healthier, Finch will move up the ladder. But OU has such a deep list of running backs, including Brennan Clay, Jonathan Miller and Brandon Williams, which suggests he'll have to fight for playing time.

--The backup quarterback position says Drew Allen OR Blake Bell--Coming out of the spring, Allen had cemented himself as the clear cut backup for the QB position. He was 16-of-29 for 179 yards with a 16-yard touchdown pass in the Spring Game. His better decision making and comfortability in the pocket stood him out in front of Bell, which means the fact that they are labeled as equals on the depth chart is mainly for competition.

--Trey Millard is back as a starter at fullback--The word in spring was that Millard's shoulder surgery was minor and he'd be fine by fall. This just reiterates that was true, and Millard's surgery went well. And the other fullbacks will see time very sparingly.

--An All-Big 12 corner is a backup--Everyone knows who this is: Jamell Fleming. But head coach Bob Stoops has a habit of making players earn their position, and it's not going to be any different for this guy. Just because Fleming made the All-Big 12 team in 2010 doesn't mean he's guaranteed a starting spot. Stoops is making that point very clear from the get-go. With a good camp, though, and good start to the season, Fleming will be the starter over Gabe Lynn by the opener if not the second game of the season against Florida State.

--Jamarkus McFarland has moved back in front of Stacy McGee--Last year, McGee started 10 games, and McFarland started just three. But the first depth chart has McFarland in a starting position. The two had fairly similar numbers last season. McGee had 26 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. McFarland, on the other hand, had 23 tackles, including 5.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks. This decision on the depth chart is basically just an indication of who's the bigger playmaker.

--Tom Wort is now the starter in the first depth chart after Austin Box's passing--It's painful to have to report this, but as difficult as it is, it's a crucial point to emphasize. Wort improved a ton last year, ranking sixth on the team with 66 tackles. He had 7.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks, and he also recorded five quarterback hurries. Because of how much the coaches were raving about Corey Nelson in the spring, another option was to slide him over into the MIKE position in order to get him on the field more like they were suggesting. But keeping him at weak side behind Travis Lewis allows him to stay in his natural position, and Wort proved last year he's completely capable of being the starter there. Jaydan Bird is listed second on the two-deep.

--Joe Powell is officially on the depth chart on defense for the first time--He made the shift in the spring, and now he's behind Demontre Hurst at field corner. Powell showed some ability in the Spring Game at defensive back, when he had four tackles. Now, he'll get the chance to go into his first camp in his new position.

Follow me at or

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories