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Defensive Preview: Oklahoma

The Texas offense must take advantage of a struggling Oklahoma defense in order to come away with a win on Saturday

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Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports

The success of the Oklahoma offense has made up for the fact that the Sooners defense has had their fair share of struggles this season. Last week against Baylor the Oklahoma defense missed 20 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. Mike Stoops has been criticized heavily over the past few years, and for good reason. Let’s take a look at the unit that Tom Herman and Texas hope to exploit on Saturday:

Defensive Line

The 3-4 Oklahoma defense is anchored in the middle by 320-pound defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, who was a part time starter in 2016 and 2017 before taking over full time duties in 2018. Amani Bledsoe and Kenneth Mann are the starters at the end positions. Freshman Ronnie Perkins, who was recruited by Texas last cycle, sees meaningful snaps in a backup role.

There is not a lot that really sticks lot about the Sooners defensive line. The Texas offensive line should have success generating push in the run game. Oklahoma has 15 sacks through the first 5 games of the year, but much of that can be attributed to the awful offensive lines of UCLA and Baylor (The Bears offensive line allowed 6 sacks). The only way Texas can get themselves in trouble is if they get into predictable downs and allow Mike Stoops to crank up the pressure.

Linebackers

2017 Big 12 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year Kenneth Murray is the main linebacker to watch. Murray has already totaled 64 tackles on the season along with 3 sacks. Curtis Bolton and Caleb Kelly will both see time at the weak side linebacker spot. Bolton in particular is having a solid season, ranking 2nd on the team with 62 tackles and collecting 1.5 sacks.

Not letting Murray fly around should be the focal point of the offensive staff for Texas this week. Getting a body on him should allow extra room for Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram to operate. Thankfully for Sam Ehlinger, he will not have Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to deal with the entire game.

Defensive Backs

Texas receivers should have a huge advantage over the Oklahoma DB’s. Although they have some talent in the secondary, the size is lacking and the willingness to be physical is virtually non-existent. Parnell Motley and Tre Norwood are the two starting corners, and only stand at 6’0 tall. Lil Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson have an opportunity to really assert themselves and physically overmatch the duo, both in the passing game and as blockers.

Baylor’s Charlie Brewer threw for an even 400 yards last week, and WR Denzel Mims and Jalen Hurd both went for over 100 yards. Tom Herman said Texas should have probably been more aggressive against Kansas State a week ago, and he can redeem himself on Saturday by attacking a secondary that has shown holes this season.

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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