No problems for Ndulue in new role

The Sooners have all the depth at defensive end. So despite a great sophomore season at end, Chuka Ndulue was asked to move to tackle this season.

As a sophomore, defensive end Chuka Ndulue led Oklahoma with five sacks and was tied for the team lead with six tackles for loss.

He started 10 games last season and was starting to emerge at end and definitely as one of the top players on OU's defense for 2013.

But depth is not an issue at defensive end for the Sooners. OU is loaded at the spot so the coaches have gone another direction with Ndulue. A lot like David King a year before, Ndulue has been moved from end to tackle.

With his first week under his belt, how does he feel?

"Oh man, I feel fat," said Ndulue, while laughing. "But it feels kind of good though because I get to eat a lot and build it up. My mom hasn't seen me in about four months so she's kind of going to be shocked. The last time she saw me I was 256 pounds."

That's the type of sacrifices that have to be made sometimes. Ndulue hasn't had a problem with it and has fared well so far at tackle.

OU was without a difference maker at defensive tackle last season and because of the questions that linger at the spot heading into this season. It's early, but OU coach Bob Stoops likes what he sees from Ndulue.

"A couple of things on the field technique-wise he's playing better and sounder, and I think he's becoming more of a leader on the field in that group," Stoops said. "He's playing well. He's having some success and finding more consistency in what we're asking him to do."

So how did Ndulue have so much success in gaining 25 pounds since the end of last season? Chipotle. OK, it was more than Chipotle but being asked to eat six portions per day that contained at least some protein did wonders in helping him add the mass.

"Chipotle was my best friend during that time," Ndulue said. "I went there at least three times a day, which was kind of awesome."

And now the weight gain and weight stability is coming along a lot more naturally for Ndulue. He admitted it was tough in the spring to adjust to everything.

With practice, workouts and eating, he wasn't maintaining the weight. He said he would gain five pounds one day but then lose it all back. There was no consistency.

That changed this summer because all he had to do was workout and eat, which he said isn't a bad way to make a living. With the help of Tiffany Byrd, OU's director of sports nutrition, Ndulue has been able to stay on track.

System change hasn't hurt matters, either. OU is ditching the two-gap defensive assignments and going back to the one-gap system that relies on instinct. Ndulue and the rest of the tackles are pretty excited about it.

"It eliminates thinking about it," Ndulue said. "It eliminates the process of going out there and thinking too much. It just wants you to go out there and play football. Just attack, attack, attack.

"That's pretty much just made it simpler for players not to worry about ‘I got this gap', ‘I got that gap'. It's just go out there and play football."

And that's something Ndulue can do pretty well. The concern is with his weight gain, he would lose some of that quickness. He said that hasn't been a problem. The offensive line has noticed how quick Ndulue is, telling him he's too quick to be down in the trenches.

He has accepted he's not a defensive end anymore, and he's ready to lead. Stoops said Ndulue doesn't really have an option at this point.

"He needs to [be a leader]," Stoops said. "When you lose five seniors, that's naturally the case. We need him to be a leader and continue to these other guys and show up on the field when he's there."

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