As Oklahoma heads into its bye week, Sooners Illustrated takes a close look at the roster. The fans, the coaching staff and the players have all been disappointed by the non-conference season and Oklahoma’s resounding failure to perform.
The season, which came with hopes of making the College Football Playoff for the second-straight season, has been reduced to a hopeful Big 12 Championship.
While Oklahoma is off, Sooners Illustrated will take a look at each major position group to figure out what needs to change and what actually will change as OU turns its sights on the Big 12 Championship.
What needs to change?
Well, let’s start with the assumption that Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops isn’t going away from his three-man front anytime soon. With Oklahoma’s fleeting depth on the defensive line and the scheme the Sooners have been recruiting to, it’s not a given that they would be able to successfully run a 4-3. But they won’t try it, even if maybe they should. Let’s also assume that Stoops isn’t going to change his on-the-field strategy very much, especially with a group of inexperienced linebackers who he doesn’t seem to trust.
So with all that in mind, there’s one obvious change that needs to happen. Neville Gallimore needs to be in the starting line-up over Matt Dimon. Gallimore is the clearly superior athlete and needs to be on the field more often to create a better pass rush, because it’s certainly not coming from Will Johnson. Gallimore has to create that pass rush.
Getting healthy wouldn’t hurt either. If it’s just Jordan Wade in the middle, then there’s no chance that Oklahoma’s defensive line stands up against the 80-play offenses of the Big 12 Conference.
What will change?
Don’t expect Gallimore to be the starter. Stoops always seems to put emphasis on experience (see more in the linebackers portion of the series). Dimon will remain the starter, but Gallimore will see more action – either at defensive tackle or defensive end.
Charles Walker needs to change. He needs to be better. He hasn’t been the kind of game-changer that people expected when he stated before the Orange Bowl that he was leaving for the NFL after this season. He looks more like Charles Tapper did as a junior than an NFL early round pick.
Matthew Romar will be healthy soon. Oklahoma could use him in conference play.