Oklahoma Sooners: Big 12 football

After grading the performance of Oklahoma’s defensive tackles in 2012, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at the defensive tackles on the roster or the commitment list as SoonerNation evaluates the future at the position for Oklahoma. Here’s a look at one player who could be next in line to make a major impact, one player to keep an eye on and one current commitment who could be the future at defensive tackle.

State of the position: Defensive end 

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
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After grading the performance of Oklahoma’s defensive ends in 2012, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at the defensive ends on the roster or the commitment list as SoonerNation evaluates the future at the position for Oklahoma. Here’s a look at one player who could be next in line to make a major impact, one player to keep an eye on and one current commitment who could be the future at defensive end.

Next in line: Geneo Grissom. The sophomore’s raw athletic ability and physical gifts were never in question heading into the 2012 season. After injury-filled first two seasons in Norman, Grissom started the season at tight end before moving to defensive end in the middle of the year. He immediately began earning playing time and saw significant action in November. He appears poised to be a core member of OU’s defensive end rotation in 2013.

Keep an eye on: Charles Tapper. His combination of strength and athleticism has impressed teammates since he stepped on campus last summer. The former standout basketball player has just scratched the surface of his upside on the gridiron and will have plenty of opportunities to become a key part of OU’s defense as a sophomore. His development could be a key to the overall production and depth at the position.

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Finally.

Oklahoma fans breathed a sigh of relief on Friday when the Sooners secured the commitment of Dallas Skyline defensive tackle Kerrick Huggins. The three-star prospect decommitted from Texas A&M before choosing the Sooners over the Aggies, Texas Tech, Colorado State, SMU and others.


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Film review: OU 35, Iowa State 20 

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
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Oklahoma got back on track with its 35-20 victory over Iowa State on Saturday. Landry Jones' trust in his receivers was clear as the Sooners quarterback threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. Here's a closer look at some of the key plays in the win as OU strives to keep its BCS hopes alive.

Sterling Shepard’s 20-yard touchdown reception

[+] EnlargeSterling Shepard
Matt Ryerson/US PresswireFreshman wideout Sterling Shepard has 25 catches and three touchdowns this season for the Sooners.
This was a key play for the Sooners for several reasons.

  1. OU had already seen two lengthy drives end without points.

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Film Review: Notre Dame 30, OU 13 

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
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Any hope of Oklahoma inserting itself back into the BCS title hunt vanished on Saturday with a 30-13 loss to Notre Dame at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The Irish made plays when they needed them and the Sooners did not as OU suffered its second home loss of the season. Here is a closer look at several key plays in the loss:

Sooners fail to convert on third-and-3 at Notre Dame 11-yard line

[+] EnlargeAaron Colvin
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMINotre Dame quarterback Everett Golson beat the Sooners through the air and with his feet.
This was a critical play for many reasons. (1) OU had cruised down the field for the second straight possession to open the game and didn’t want to have just three points to show for it. (2) It was an opportunity for the Sooners offense to gain confidence they could make key plays when they needed them against the Irish. (3) It was an early sign that ND was comfortable dropping in coverage to try to stop OU.

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Fifth-ranked Notre Dame sent a message to the rest of college football with a 30-13 win over No. 8 Oklahoma at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Here's a closer look at what happened and what it means for both teams.

How the game was won: In the trenches. Notre Dame shut down OU’s run game while rushing for 215 yards of its own. The Fighting Irish offensive and defensive lines manhandled the Sooners as Notre Dame improved to 8-0.

The game was over when: Irish kicker Kyle Brindza hit a 46-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a 23-13 lead with 3:22 remaining. The Irish tacked on a late touchdown to win by 17 points.

Turning point: After OU tied the game at 13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Irish stormed back on their next possession, sparked by a 50-yard reception from Chris Brown. It was a remarkable response to the Sooners. Everett Golson’s 1-yard touchdown run capped the drive and secured the win.

Stat of the game: 0.6. That’s the yards-per-carry average for Oklahoma. The Irish run defense was highly regarded when they arrived in Norman. And they didn’t disappoint, holding OU to 15 yards on 24 carries.

Player of the game: Manti Te’o. The Notre Dame linebacker was all over the field for the Irish. He sealed the victory with his fourth-quarter interception and finished the game with 11 tackles, one sack and one interception. He played like a Heisman candidate, leaving his mark on the game with his aggression and hustle.

Unsung hero of the game: Golson. The redshirt freshman quarterback showed exceptional maturity and savvy. He made plays when they were there, tossed the ball out of bounds when they weren't. He finished 13-of-25 for 177 yards with zero turnovers and added 11 rushes for 64 yards and one touchdown. He didn't play like a first-year player.

What Notre Dame learned: Brian Kelly’s rebuilding job appears to be nearing completion. Programs are built on wins like this. With a road win against the Sooners, Kelly’s team made its case earn a spot in the BCS title game. And, at the very least, Irish fans must be thrilled with the progress of Kelly’s program during his third season in South Bend.

What Oklahoma learned: Winning home games against top-25 opponents isn’t as easy as it seemed under Bob Stoops. After heading into the season undefeated against top-25 teams at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium under Stoops, the Sooners suffered their second loss to a Top-25 opponent this year. No. 3 Kansas State knocked off the Sooners on Sept. 22.

What it means: The Irish are for real. Notre Dame is making a strong case to rise to No. 2 in the BCS standings. With wins over Stanford, Michigan, Michigan State and OU, the Irish have a solid résumé and can make a case for a spot in the BCS title game.

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