OU spring review: Defensive End

Sooners edge rushers are potentially the deepest unit on the OU defense and could be dominant

Spring football is done at Oklahoma. The Sooners were able to get everything they could from 14 practices and the spring game and now the focus goes toward the 2015 season.

So what did we learn? Sooners Illustrated is going to take a position-by-position approach to see what we know now (or what we don’t know) going forward at OU.

Defensive end

There wasn’t really a ton to learn about Oklahoma’s edge rushers because so much is known already. It’s not a real priority of the defense. There’s just a bunch of answered questions with the unit.

Charles Tapper is returning for his senior season, and Charles Walker seems poised for what could be a big year after finally stepping into the starting role.

Walker was the talk of last year’s preseason camp and has a chance to be an top-notch player. There’s definitely a need for a nickname for the two. Charles’ in Charge (CNC)? Maybe?

Because of the no-contact rule on quarterbacks and the nature of spring practice, there wasn’t much talk about Tapper and Walker. The pair could be the top defensive end combo in the Big 12 Conference this season. Both are supreme athletes and have the ability to get into the backfield regardless of the front that Oklahoma is in on any given play.

There’s still talent behind Tapper and Walker. D.J. Ward finally looks ready to make an impact and surgery to remove his spleen. Matt Dimon, Dwayne Orso and even incoming freshman Neville Gallimore could see time – especially if the line remains a fluid unit. Behind linebackers, there might not be a deeper position on Oklahoma’s defensive roster than at defensive end.

What the Oklahoma coaching staff has to be really hoping that the defensive front can do is stop the run – without help from the secondary. If that happens, the Sooners can sell out more to stop the pass and change things for the best on defense.

“You start to get more multiple and things start to expand,” Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “Those are things. We’re learning a lot where we need to improve as we go through spring.”

So far, defensive end isn’t one of those spots.

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