When RJ Proctor transferred from Virginia to the University of Oklahoma I immediately penciled him in as a starter along the offensive line. The Sooners had just lost four of their starting five up front to the NFL Draft and it just made sense that the best player on a Cavaliers offensive line would immediately find a spot on the starting five at OU. I was wrong!
I guess I underestimated Bill Bedenbaugh’s development of his young talent. When Oklahoma released the depth chart for Sunday’s season opener, against Houston, four of the five starters listed for the offensive line were redshirt sophomores. Proctor, a graduate transfer is listed as the backup for Marquis Hayes.
Redshirt junior Erik Swenson is the oldest among Oklahoma’s listed starters on the offensive line. While they may be young, they are big. Across the front the Sooners will average 6-5/323.5 with the starting five.
Defense Far From Settled
We also know that defensive changes were coming to Oklahoma’s player personnel but we’ll have to wait until 6:30 Sunday night to see exactly what those changes will be. Only one defensive position is settled on the three-deep with four position battles apparently going right up until game time when it comes to the starter. Tre Brown will start at corner with Jordan Parker listed as his back up.
What may be a bit surprising for fans is that Parnell Motley has locked down the other starting corner spot. While he’s had his share of key plays for Oklahoma’s defense (Many folks will remember his interception against Ohio State) he’s also been on the wrong end of several big offensive plays from Oklahoma’s opponents.
1⃣1⃣ Days Until 🏈 Time In Oklahoma.— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) August 21, 2018
Parnell Motley’s huge fourth quarter interception last year against Ohio State came on a play that started at the 11:11 mark with OU leading by 11 points. #BoomerSooner | #BeatFAU | @PeeMot11 pic.twitter.com/MtptJ2dBuA
This is a new day for Oklahoma’s defense and Alex Grinch has wiped the slate clean. What guys did in the past, both good and bad, had no bearing on weather they would start for the Sooners this fall. What did matter was how they listened to a new voice and developed under new coaches during the spring and fall. Motley will serve as the poster child for that philosophy.
Motley sewing up the starting corner spot opposite of Brown leaves Parker, who many though was developing very well, as the alternate. There’s no doubt that he’ll be in rotation at the corner position. But, the surprise here is that it isn’t in a starting role.
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