- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
The Sooners don’t have a Lee Roy Selmon, Tommie Harris or Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle. But they do have three experienced veterans, and a couple of intriguing prospects. Will that be enough?
What Oklahoma has: The senior trio of Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee and Casey Walker, who have anchored the defensive tackle position for the last two seasons. All three have had moments. But none has developed into an all-conference-caliber performer.
Of the three, McFarland has the best chance to become that player next season. He had one of the best games of his career in the win over the Iowa in the Insight Bowl. McFarland finished with five tackles, including two for loss as the OU defense dominated, holding the Hawkeyes to 2.1 yards a carry.
Anderson enrolled in the spring last year, and actually appeared on the depth chart for the Insight Bowl when Torrea Peterson was sent home.
Because of academic snafus, Phillips and Wade both joined the team late. Phillips arrived after fall camp began and redshirted. Wade stayed home in Austin the entire semester. The Sooners are excited about the potential of both players. Phillips has freakish athletic ability for a defensive tackle. Wade is a load.
What Oklahoma needs: The Sooners don’t necessarily need any one player to become an All-American (though that would be nice). But they do need more disruption from their tackles. OU won’t be as dominant at end with Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander both gone, so the tackles will need to chip in and make some plays.
Position Grade: This grade has upside. At the least, the Sooners will be solid at tackle. Walker, McGee and McFarland are proven commodities. But Phillips, Wade and, to some degree, McFarland too have the potential to make the group better than solid.
7dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon