Shipp: 'We Keep Our Word'

When the Sooner coaches recruit at defensive line or at any position, for that matter, but specifically up front on the defensive side of the ball, they preach one thing.

"When you sit in their homes and you recruit them, they all want to know when they're having a chance to play," said defensive line coach Jackie Shipp. "And we keep our word. I keep my word, the whole staff does. When you get here, you're going to get reps just like everybody else."

And reps means a lot of reps.

"It's very interesting to see those freshmen when they start getting all those reps," Shipp said. "All of the sudden [they] find out something about it. It's probably more reps than they thought they were going to get."

That's something current sophomore defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland recently acknowledged because he's evidence of it.

"Yeah, I did [get more reps than I thought I would]," McFarland said. "Of course practicing I didn't expect to be out there with the first team or, I mean, even the second team."

McFarland anticipated--and most incoming defensive linemen do--that the pace would be slower.

"I expected to kind of [be] learning, sitting back learning, but it's none of that here," McFarland said. "Once you get here, you have to adjust with the speed and with the technique. You have to learn it."

And that goes for all parts of the game.

"Anything you can do outside of the room, outside of the meetings, you have to take that advantage, learn the plays," McFarland said. "So that won't be an excuse of why you're going the wrong way because [it's] already a hassle trying to learn the technique and learn the speed of the game."

A freshman who's an example of one of a few that have picked up the speed in impressive fashion is 6-foot-3, 281 lb., defensive tackle Daniel Noble.

And his ability to get used to everything fast is something that's been somewhat surprising for McFarland.

"Yes, I really have [been]," McFarland said. "I feel like he's approaching it kind of how I approached it last [year] when I came in. I tried to come in and like you said, you learn the plays.

"That's the first step because technique's not going to be given to you, and the speed of the game. You've got to learn both of those. But what you can control is what Gerald [McCoy] told me. You can control whether you know the plays or not. No one can teach you that."

But then there's more.

"Once they give it to you, you've got to study it and learn it, and Daniel has done that," McFarland said. "He has no [problem with criticism]. He takes coaching very well. When you tell him it's mistakes, he cleans it up just like that because he's playing a different style than he played in high school, so he's kind of adjusting, but when he's out there, he's doing it right, and he's surprising coach and me personally."

And that's what the coaches hope for when bringing young defensive linemen talent in.

A number of younger guys, although they redshirted in their first seasons, have made the two deep roster at this point in preseason, and that also speaks volumes to the expectations of the youth.

Defensive ends David King and R.J. Washington, as well as nose guard Casey Walker and defensive tackle Stacey McGee, all are on the depth chart, with Walker and McGee in starting spots.

So the bottom line: The coaching staff plans for youth to make a major impact on the defensive line.

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