Oklahoma Sooners: position breakdown 2013

Position breakdown: Safety 

March, 4, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- No position on the Oklahoma roster is more up in the air heading into spring than safety. The Sooners lost their top three back safeties off last year’s team, including starters Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris, who have been fixtures in the OU secondary. How Mike Stoops retools the safety position will go a long way in determining whether the Sooners win the Big 12 championship in 2013.

It will be interesting to see what Stoops does with Gabe Lynn and Julian Wilson. The nickel and dime backs last year seem more suited playing close to the line of scrimmage and covering man-to-man than operating as the last line of defense.

Position breakdown: Cornerback 

March, 1, 2013
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Oklahoma’s best recruiting job of the offseason was convincing Aaron Colvin to return for his senior year. Colvin gives the Sooners a premier lockdown coverman who will make opposing QBs think twice about throwing his way.

Good thing, too, because OU’s other cornerback spot is a major question mark on this defense going into the spring.


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Position breakdown: Linebacker 

February, 27, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Today, SoonerNation examines the linebacker position.

Wait, Oklahoma uses linebackers?

That would be the sentiment of anyone who watched the Sooners after October last season. OU went largely with six- and even seven-defensive back sets, which did little to combat the spread offenses the Sooners saw late last season.


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Position breakdown: Defensive tackle 

February, 25, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Michigan defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery will become Oklahoma's defensive tackles coach. And he faces a tall task in Norman.

No position on Oklahoma’s roster has more questions marks than defensive tackle.


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Position breakdown: Defensive end 

February, 22, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Nowhere have the Sooners done a better job compiling young talent defensively than at defensive end.

But two questions loom going into the spring. Will that young talent be ready to contribute to a defense in need of impact performers? And how will the Sooners use their defensive ends?


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Position breakdown: Offensive line 

February, 20, 2013
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NORMAN. Okla. -- The players on the offensive line will be largely the same in 2013. The coach directing them will not.

One of the first moves Bob Stoops made after signing day was firing Bruce Kittle and James Patton and replacing them with Bill Bedenbaugh, who was formerly at West Virginia.


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Position breakdown: Tight end 

February, 18, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Tight end was the position that wasn’t for the Sooners in 2012.

OU’s first-year tight end triplets did not develop as rapidly as the coaches had hoped. Then Jalen Saunders was cleared, and the Sooners went almost exclusively with four-wide sets without a tight end.


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Position breakdown: Wide receiver 

February, 15, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Outside of Ryan Broyles, receiver has been an up-and-down position for the Sooners in recent seasons.

In 2012, however, Oklahoma was formidable at the position. So formidable, in fact, that OU went almost exclusively with a four-wide receiver set the second half of the season.

Half of that foursome is now gone, with Justin Brown graduating and Kenny Stills leaving early to enter the NFL draft. But enough pieces remain for the Sooners to be strong at wideout again.


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Position breakdown: Running back 

February, 13, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- One area where the Sooners will suffer little attrition from 2012 is running back. Yes, Dominique Whaley has graduated, but Whaley didn’t contribute to the backfield after the first three games as he struggled to regain his agility from a broken ankle he suffered in 2011.

The rest of the backfield returns intact, and that includes Damien Williams. The former juco transfer had a breakout first season in Norman, leading the Sooners with 946 rushing yards while scoring 11 touchdowns and averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Williams would have easily surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier had an ankle sprain not slowed him in November.

[+] EnlargeDamien Williams
Brandon Wade/Getty ImagesDamien Williams ran for nearly 1,000 yards in his first season at Oklahoma and will combine with Brennan Clay for much of OU's rushing production.
Williams gives the Sooners one of the top returning backs in the league. OU also returns Brennan Clay, who proved to be a solid No. 2 back during his junior season. Filling in for Williams at Iowa State, Clay rushed for 157 yards while averaging 6.5 yards a carry. Clay also scored the game-winning overtime touchdown against Oklahoma State.

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Position breakdown: Quarterback 

February, 11, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- We know there will be a different starting quarterback at Oklahoma next season.

What we don’t know is who that quarterback will be.

Whatever happens, this figures to be perhaps the most intriguing quarterback derby of the Bob Stoops era.


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