Youngsters Make Their Move

NORMAN, Okla. — Bowl preparation is important for an entire team to mesh as a club heading into the next season, but it's especially important for the young players hoping to make the next step within the program.

Several guys have been taking advantage of that opportunity in OU's practices so far leading up to the Insight Bowl.

Names like P.L. Lindley and Derek Farniok and Jordan Phillips have come up, among others.

"A guy I like is P.L. Lindley," said linebacker Tom Wort. "You know, P.L. just is a big guy and he's being physical. I mean, Kellen Jones is always trying to improve, but I really like the way Corey Nelson has been practicing. You know, he's coming out with a lot of intensity every day and you know, he's working hard."

Right tackle Lane Johnson singled out the few that have really impressed him.

"Daryl [Williams], he's about 310, 315, just a big, strong guy," Johnson said. "Tyrus [Thompson] has come along, has amazing feet, and Derek Farniok. He's a freshman this year. He's about 6-9, 310, just a big monster. His brother played for Iowa State, and yeah, he's really coming along. We look forward to seeing what he's going to do in the spring."

And then there's another guy each on the offensive and defensive line, according to starting left guard Gabe Ikard.

"The two that stand out to me are on the O-line and the D-line," Ikard said. "And Nila Kasitati on the O-line. I mean, he had a little injury early in the year, you know, has been in the weight room, has gotten real strong. He's got a great base, you know, just great lineman build. So, he's definitely going to contribute next year and he even got a little time this year before he got nicked up. So, it's one of those things.

"And then I said Jordan Phillips on the D-line. You can just see flashes where he's going to have All-American talent and he's just big and strong and athletic. I mean, if you've seen him play basketball, you'd know what I'm talking about. I mean, I think he played like wide receiver in high school or something like that. But yeah, he's going to be a great player."

So, let's see.

Lindley, Jones and Nelson are all coming along big time along with Wort, making for several serviceable options at linebacker in 2012 without Travis Lewis.

And with just one starting offensive lineman, left tackle Donald Stephenson, exiting the Sooners after 2011 and Williams, Farniok, Thompson and Kasitati making great leaps, the O-line figures to be deep.

Not to mention Phillips' presence could really elevate the defensive tackle position.

Should the Sooners resolve their running back and defensive back issues, they could be just fine next year.

At least that's the hope, and the encouraging signs are there in these few individuals.

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