Young Defenders Stepping Up

Everyone knows the potential of players like junior defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, senior middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds and junior defensive back Dominique Franks, just to name a few of the veterans on the defensive side of the ball, but coach Venables caught us up on some of the younger guys who are pushing for playing time in '09.

But there have been some other guys that must step up during the year in order for the Sooners to have the devastating defense they expect to have, and they have done just that throughout the first part of fall camp.

And OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables addressed the media about a few of those guys last week.

On freshman defensive backs Demontre Hurst and Marcus Trice:
I feel like we've identified a couple of young guys that we've talked about in Marcus Trice and Demontre Hurst. They both can play and play in significant situations where it really matters if they're very instinctual. They're good football players around the ball, and they're physically not overwhelmed. So those two guys [are] helping us with some depth.

On redshirt freshman defensive linemen Stacey McGee and Casey Walker:
Stacy and Casey, those two guys, I've been real pleased with their progress and where they're at. They've consistently shown up, and they've shown significant improvement from where they were a year ago.

On sophomore defensive back Sam Proctor:
[He's shown] consistency more than anything and understanding, awareness, tackling, positioning, those types of things, not getting fooled. All young players at every school at every position struggle early, and they get better as they get more experience, so Sam's been here for a little while now. [He went] through a year last year where again he was able to continue to grow and understand things.

On freshman linebacker Ronnell Lewis:
He's big strong, physical, explosive. He just needs to work on a lot of things, technique and his understanding. He's been working at other positions, so there's a learning curve there, but he seems to find the football real well, and that's my initial impressions.

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