Oklahoma Sooners: Casey Walker

Simon, Anderson no longer on OU team

February, 17, 2013
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UPDATE: An OU spokesperson confirms junior defensive tackle Damon Williams is no longer on the team, as well.

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma will be transitioning to three new assistant coaches this spring. The Sooners will also have to make do with just four scholarship cornerbacks and possibly as few as three scholarship defensive tackles during the spring, as well.

An OU spokesperson confirmed Sunday night that cornerback Gary Simon and defensive tackle Marquis Anderson are no longer with the squad.

That leaves the Sooners with only returning starter Aaron Colvin, Cortez Johnson and Zack Sanchez and Kass Everett at cornerback; and just Jordan Phillips, Jordan Wade and Torrea Peterson at defensive tackle.

OU was hoping to add junior-college tackle Quincy Russell in January. Russell, however, still has academic work to complete before he can enroll. Of OU’s three returning defensive tackles, only Phillips saw even spot duty last season.

The Sooners signed three high school defensive tackles earlier this month, as well. But one of those, Kerrick Huggins, has yet to qualify and doubled-signed with Trinity Valley Community College in case he doesn’t make it Norman.

Coach Bob Stoops showed he hasn’t been happy lately with OU’s production or recruiting at defensive tackle, and fired his longtime defensive tackles coach, Jackie Shipp, last week. Last season, the Sooners ranked 94th in run defense and 108th in tackles for loss.

OU also lost its top three defensive tackles -- Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee -- to graduation.

The Sooners face transition in the secondary, as well. Three of five starters are gone, and Simon was expected to challenge Johnson for the starting job at corner opposite Colvin.
Oklahoma saw the Landry Jones Era end in unspectacular fashion on Friday night, with a 41-13 loss to ex-Big 12 rival Texas A&M. Jones is done, and the defense showed it needed some work under Mike Stoops for 2013, but that job just got a little bit tougher.

Colleague Joe Schad cited a source who told him safety Tony Jefferson and receiver Kenny Stills would be leaving early to enter the NFL draft.

Jones is obviously the Sooners' biggest loss, but Jefferson's one of the defense's most talented members, and cornerback Aaron Colvin still has a draft decision to make. The transition to Jones' successor (Blake Bell, Drew Allen or scout team standout Trevor Knight?) gets a little rougher without an experienced receiver like Stills to smooth it over, too.

Oklahoma, though, will have a very tall order to try and restore a defense that struggled down the stretch after giving up 49 points to West Virginia and 48 to Oklahoma State, which was playing Clint Chelf, who began the season as the team's No. 3 quarterback.

Defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee and Casey Walker are all gone, as is star defensive end David King. Safety Javon Harris, the Sooners' biggest standout in the Cotton Bowl loss, ended his career on Friday, as did cornerback Demontre Hurst.

Point is, if Oklahoma's going to fix its defense, it will have to do so without experience. That's difficult in any league, but especially so in the Big 12, where the only thing faster than the receivers is the rate at which offenses evolve and become more difficult to stop.

Expect the Sooners' spring depth chart to look a little crazy and be very fluid throughout spring practice, but without Jefferson and Stills, both sides of the ball will be moving on to 2013 without their most talented pieces.

OU position grades: Defensive tackles 

December, 24, 2012
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In the weeks leading up to the Cotton Bowl, SoonerNation will take a look back at how the Sooners performed position-by-position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we examine the defensive tackle position.

GradeHighlights: The defensive tackle trio of Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee was dominant through October wins over Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas. Walker capped off the streak with a 45-yard fumble return in the rout of the Jayhawks. Over that stretch, Tech managed 89 yards on 32 carries; Texas, 74 yards on 23 carries; and Kansas, 185 yards, but on 58 carries.

Lowlights: Before the October stretch, the tackles struggled in the 24-19 loss to Kansas State, which prompted Barry Switzer among others to call out the position publicly. Late in the season, the OU defensive tackles were pretty average, too. Notre Dame, West Virginia and Oklahoma State did wanted they wanted to on the ground, and OU couldn’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks without bringing the house.

Sooners get depth boost with DT Russell 

December, 19, 2012
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It appears to be the perfect fit.

Quincy Russell
Courtesy of Trinity Valley Community CollegeQuincy Russell could play immediately for the Sooners in 2013.
Three-star defensive tackle Quincy Russell (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley) decided to sign with Oklahoma on Wednesday, picking the Sooners over Nebraska. The defensive tackle prospect had offers from OU, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and others.

With Russell’s choice, the Sooners get a much-needed defensive tackle recruit and Russell gets the opportunity to make an immediate impact in a program that competes for championships every year. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

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Sooner snapshot: DT Kerrick Huggins 

December, 18, 2012
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Each week SoonerNation will take a closer look at the Class of 2013 prospects currently committed to Oklahoma. The in-depth analysis pieces will take a look at the ranking, estimated year of impact and potential role of each future Sooner.

Vitals: Defensive tackle Kerrick Huggins | 6-foot-3, 285 pounds

Committed: Dec. 14, 2012

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Huggins a sign of things to come for OU? 

December, 14, 2012
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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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Roundtable: Biggest hole on defense? 

December, 13, 2012
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Every Thursday, the SoonerNation staff will answer a roundtable question about OU football. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Today's question: Which graduating Sooner leaves the biggest hole for Oklahoma to fill on defense in 2013?

[+] EnlargeSkye Dawson, Demontre Hurst
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireSooners cornerback Demontre Hurst has been a three-year starter.
• One of the reasons that Oklahoma was so good against the pass this season was its cornerback tandem. Aaron Colvin was the star of this duo, earning All-Big 12 honors. But Demontre Hurst also provided standout coverage. In the last three years, the Sooners have never had to worry about the steady, durable Hurst or his position. That changes in the spring. Gary Simon has potential and Cortez Johnson has experience from Arizona. But neither is the player yet that Hurst has proved to be.

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Five Sooners to watch in bowl practices 

December, 5, 2012
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Bowl practices can be a critical time for any football program. It’s an opportunity for young players to show how they’ve improved during the season and set themselves up in integral roles on the offense or defense heading into the spring while the veterans recover from a physical schedule.

Here’s a look at five young players at Oklahoma who could use bowl practices as a springboard to a bigger role for the Sooners in 2013.

[+] EnlargeTrey Metoyer
Richard Rowe/US PresswireTrey Metoyer began the season as a starter for the Sooners and finished with 17 catches for 148 yards.
Receiver Trey Metoyer

It’s important Metoyer understands he is still a big part of OU’s offensive plans in the future and that starts with these bowl practices. With Justin Brown leaving and Kenny Stills potentially declaring for the NFL draft, the Sooners will need Metoyer to emerge as a quality target as a sophomore.

With the Sooners looking at playing without Jalen Saunders after his recent arrest, Metoyer could be asked to play a bigger role in the offense during the Cotton Bowl. Metoyer began the season as a starter but his youth and inexperience showed at times during his freshman season.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips

Phillips’ development is one of the most critical concerns for the Sooners heading into 2013 with their top three defensive tackles -- seniors Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee and Casey Walker -- leaving the program after the Cotton Bowl.

The redshirt freshman has great size (6-foot-6, 316 pounds) and has seen more playing time as the season has progressed, recording 12 tackles. He’s had his moments when he’s played well but he’s far from a finished product. And the Sooners will desperately need him to play like one in 2013.

Cornerback Gary Simon

Senior Demontre Hurst has played as well as anyone on OU’s defense in 2012 and will be a big loss when he moves on after the Cotton Bowl. And junior Aaron Colvin could decide to test NFL waters. Therefore, Simon’s progress is important for OU’s defense.

The true freshman has seen limited playing time in blowout wins this season, so the bowl practices could be a opportunity for him to see some time with the No. 1 defense against the No. 1 offense. Simon impressed in the preseason and has the physical traits to be an impact player, he just needs the experience.

Defensive end Geneo Grissom


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Film review: OU 24, TCU 17 

December, 2, 2012
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Oklahoma won its eighth Big 12 championship Saturday with a 24-17 win over TCU at Amon Carter Stadium. The Sooners are co-champions with Kansas State after finishing 7-1 in the Big 12. Running back Damien Williams showed his big-play ability with two touchdowns, but it was the Sooners defense that won the game for OU. Here's a look at five key plays in the victory.

[+] EnlargeTony Jefferson, Julian Wilson
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesTCU's pass to tie the game was almost completed but Julian Wilson and Tony Jefferson were in good position.
Damien Williams’ 11-yard touchdown reception

The Sooners' first touchdown showed just how difficult it can be to stop OU’s offense, because it has so many options.

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The Oklahoma 10: Week 11 

November, 12, 2012
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Each week, SoonerNation will rank Oklahoma’s top 10 performers of the season up to this point. Plenty of Sooners continued their strong play in OU’s 42-34 win over Baylor on Saturday.

1. S Tony Jefferson (Last week: No. 1): Jefferson missed some tackles but he remains among the nation’s elite defensive backs. He had 11 tackles including 10 solo stops against a Bears offense built upon winning one-on-one matchups in the open field.

[+] EnlargeJustin Brown
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiOU receiver Justin Brown has 41 catches and four touchdowns receiving this season.
2. FB Trey Millard (2): Even though Millard only touched the ball four times, he’s incredibly valuable on offense and special teams. He helped the Sooners rush for 183 yards.

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The Oklahoma 10: Week 10 

November, 5, 2012
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Each week, SoonerNation will rank Oklahoma’s top 10 performers of the season up to this point. The Sooners had several players show up in a 35-20 win at Iowa State.

1. S Tony Jefferson (Last week: No. 1): Jefferson has had another monster day with a team-high nine tackles. He also delivered another bone-rattling shot to an opposing ball-carrier, and picked off a pass late to seal the win.

[+] EnlargeGabe Ikard
Matt Ryerson/US PresswireReceiver Kenny Stills and center Gabe Ikard both make our list of top Sooners players this season.
2. FB Trey Millard (3): “Fat Daddy” helped clear the way for Brennan Clay on the ground. He also got involved in the passing game with three catches for 26 yards.

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Film review: OU 35, Iowa State 20 

November, 4, 2012
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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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The Oklahoma 10: Week 9 

October, 29, 2012
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Each week, SoonerNation will rank Oklahoma’s top 10 performers of the season up to this point. The Sooners have a new No. 1 following a 30-13 defeat to Notre Dame.

1. S Tony Jefferson (Last week: No. 3): Once again, Jefferson led the Sooners in tackles, and nearly knocked Notre Dame QB Everett Golson out of the game with a vicious hit. Jefferson was OU’s best defensive player.

[+] EnlargeTony Jefferson
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiJunior safety Tony Jefferson leads the Sooners in tackles.
2. CB Aaron Colvin (1): Despite tight coverage, Colvin uncharacteristically allowed too many Notre Dame passes to be completed on him. Wasn’t his best night.

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The Oklahoma 10: Week 8 

October, 22, 2012
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Each week, SoonerNation will rank Oklahoma’s top 10 performers of the season up to this point. After a 52-7 win over Kansas, several Sooners continue to play their best ball of the season:

1. CB Aaron Colvin (Last week: No. 1): Colvin was distressed in the locker room for allowing Kansas to complete a short first down on a crossing rout. We’ll give him a pass. Colvin continues to be dominant.

2. FB Trey Millard (2): Millard dropped a wide-open touchdown pass, but atoned for it with a 25-yard TD catch at the end of the third quarter that put OU up 52-0. It’s no coincidence that the OU offense starting rolling once Millard started getting the ball more.

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Film review: Oklahoma 52, Kansas 7 

October, 21, 2012
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It would have been easy for Oklahoma to suffer a letdown against Kansas. Instead, Jayhawks fans wish the Sooners would would have let up in OU’s 52-7 win at Owen Field on Saturday. Quarterback Landry Jones was superb, the OU defense was dominant and the special teams did something that had never been done in program history.

Receiver Kenny Stills' 44-yard touchdown catch

The Sooners' first touchdown pretty much sums up the game. After a play-action fake to running back Damien Williams, Jones threw a beautiful pass to Stills right over the shoulder of KU cornerback JaCorey Shepherd. Three of Stills' six catches came on that scoring drive.

A closer look at the play shows why this game turned into a blowout:
[+] EnlargeCasey Walker
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesDefensive tackle Casey Walker scooped up a fumble and ran it 45 yards.

  • Shepherd gave Stills a 10-yard cushion and still got beaten deep.

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