Defense could see three new starters

The Oklahoma defense will have at least three new starters Saturday against Oregon. Look for sophomore corner Lendy Holmes to draw the start at cornerback against the Ducks. See inside for more defensive news and notes.

Following Tuesday's practice, it appears that Lendy Holmes will start at the boundary corner when the Sooners take the field at Oregon on Saturday. He is competing with Marcus Walker, and to a certain extent, with former starter D.J. Wolfe. But Holmes will get the first crack at the job on Saturday.

Also, senior Jason Carter may finally have worked his way into the starting line-up. He continues to battle with redshirt freshman Keenan Clayton, who started the first two games but was replaced by Carter late in the first quarter against Washington.

Secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright knows that Carter knows where to go and in some ways he has a calming influence on the secondary and on the defense because he never busts and he can tell every other player on defense what to do. He is like a coach on the field.

Now, if Carter can just catch the ball. He has worked before and after practice on the jugs machine, or just with anybody that will throw him the football so that he will not drop interceptions against Oregon. Carter has the intelligence to get into position to get some picks, but he needs to catch the ball. When Carter is in the game, the Sooners lose athletic ability but they gain experience within the defense and poise on the field.

Clayton has not played well in the first two games or up to the level the defensive coaches want. So the thinking now is to start Carter and bring Clayton along slowly. Clayton will play in the game, but Carter will start giving Clayton a chance to watch early in the game and get a feel for what is going on.

Also, Steven Coleman and DeMarcus Granger are expected to start against Oregon. Defensive tackle has been just average thus far this year and Coleman and Granger have played the best so far up front. And they are also the biggest defensive tackles the Sooners have.

Cory Bennett will also see some time with Carl Pendleton on the second unit. You can expect Coleman and Granger to get the most snaps as OU gets away from the equal rotation they currently use for more of a staggered rotation where the guys who are playing best get a few more reps.

OU wants the linebackers to be more physical, get off the edge of blocks and to be more explosive against the run. Monday and Tuesday were physical practices at OU.

The Sooners had to run-blitz to stop the run a few plays against Washingon, which was something the coaches totally don't like to do. The OU coaches have challenged the front four to bow up and stuff the run so that the defense can be totally sound and not be forced to blitz on every play.

True freshman defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will not come out of redshirt this week, and probably won't all year. The believe that he is going to be a good player, but he needs to work on his technique and get bigger and stronger in the weight room.


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