Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma 49 – Houston 31 | Sooners’ Defensive Position Grades

M. Hofeld

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Oklahoma’s defense got off to a fast start in Sunday night which fed the energy of the crowd and helped the Sooners jump out to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Following a few adjustments the Cougars were able to make some progress against Oklahoma’s new “speed defense” but there were enough signs of improvements to leave folks generally feeling good despite giving up 408 yards and 31 points.

Defensive Line

Ronnie Perkins and Neville Gallimore recorded two of Oklahoma’s three sacks on Sunday night. The primary responsibility of the defensive line was to be disruptive in the backfield and to help with containment of Houston quarterback D’Eriq King.

King ended up with 112 rushing yards but that isn’t totally on the defensive line. Once pressure came up the middle the linebackers were the next level of defense so they’ll take some of the responsibility here as well.

King was never really comfortable in the pocket and finished the night with a very average 14-of-27 passing night for 167 yards and two scores. Pressure from the defensive line played a key role in that.

Overall Position Grade: B+

Linebackers

Kenneth Murray was as impressive as ever with a team-high 13 total tackles. He and Jon-Michael Terry combined for a sack and Murray showed off some speed that fans hadn’t really seen last season while doing his best to be a one-man wrecking crew against Houston’s offense.

The Cougars did average 5.7 yards per carry on the night and much of that responsibility falls on the linebackers. While it should be noted that playing a quarterback with the talent set of King makes it difficult to corral running backs, it is also a responsibility of the linebackers to do just that.

Overall Position Grade: B+

Secondary

Oklahoma’s secondary benefited from the pressure of the front seven as opposed to suffering from a lack of pressure in seasons past. Parnell Motley recorded a pass break up but the big contribution by this unit was improved tackling. Delarrin Turner-Yell (6), Patrick Fields (5), and Brendan Radley-Hiles (5) combined for 16 total tackles.

It wasn’t all perfection from Oklahoma’s improved secondary though. Confusion between Fields and Jordan Parker led to a 4th down score for the Cougars in the 4th quarter.

Overall Position Grade: B+

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