During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 92 – DT Matthew Romar (6-foot, 304 pounds)
23 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 sack
What happened last year: Romar stepped into the middle of the Oklahoma defense with pretty big shoes to fill. He had to fill the massive gap left by second-round NFL Draft pick Jordan Phillips. And to be honest, he might have been better than Phillips. Romar didn’t have the flash ofß Phillips, who has remarkable athleticism for a player of his size, but Romar’s consistency made him stand out in the crowded defensive line. He was relentless and was a big reason for Oklahoma’s success on defense. Phillips commanded double-teams because of his size and potential. Romar demanded them because of his work ethic.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 7. Romar was the bulldog on the middle of Oklahoma’s defense last season, even though it wasn’t completely obvious before the year that he would earn the title. He has better depth behind him this year, but with the turnover on defense, Romar needs to be the constant. And who better to be the leadership up front that a player who leads best by example? Romar won’t be couldn’t on to make too many tackles, but his importance falls on teams being forced to double team him (or Marquise Overton) so that the middle linebackers can run free. He proved last year that he’s capable. Now, he needs to be better than capable and a little bit better than good.
Best-case scenario for this season: As a defensive tackle or nose guard, Romar is undersized, so a good season likely won’t result in being drafted – more likely is that Romar won’t even consider leaving early. But being a three-year starter at Oklahoma isn’t anything light. Romar could potentially double his tackle for loss and sack numbers without even seeing an increase in total tackles. He’ll be counted on to make a ton of plays to help Oklahoma’s run defense, because the Sooners will need to be sound in one phase of defense with the secondary a bit shuffled and the linebackers breaking in three new starters. Another quiet and productive year would be perfect for the soft-spoken Romar.