OU report card: Defensive line

Week 1 was all about offense and special teams. Week 2 of OU grades at Sooners Illustrated focuses on the defense.

With the Oklahoma football season in the books, Sooners Illustrated is going to look back at each position group to see how they fared in 2013.

Defensive line

Heading into the season, the biggest question about this year's OU team. Even more than quarterback because at least there were options, nobody knew who most of these guys were going into August.

Now heading into 2014, you wouldn't be crazy to call this the strength of the team going forward. The group loses absolutely nobody from 2013 and should only get better in year No. 2 with coach Jerry Montgomery.

Jordan Wade proved to be a force in the middle after Jordan Phillips was hurt for the season. Charles Tapper is a freak of an athlete who showed his raw speed a couple of times during the year. It looked like Chuka Ndulue was ready to emerge and then Geneo Grissom had the best game of his life against Alabama.

All of that is good signs going forward. Tapper can certainly be an all-conference guy going forward and Phillips and Wade is a scary one-two punch.

Add in the development of Matt Dimon, the comfort level of Quincy Russell and some 2013 kids that will get a chance to shine, and it's obvious why Bob Stoops is so happy with this bunch.

Best moment: Obviously it's Alabama. Even though Eric Striker is classified as a linebacker, he's like part of the defensive line, too. Grissom was incredible with two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown. Tapper made the incredible stop of Amari Cooper in the open field. This was a unit that was gelling at the exact right time.

Worst moment: Red River Rivalry against Texas. The Sooners couldn't stop the two-headed rushing attack and allowed Case McCoy for his best game of the season. Game served as a real wakeup call going forward.

Sooners Illustrated grade: B+.


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