2014 Red/White Game | What To Watch For | Offensive & Defensive Lines

Image via Sooner Sports (Dionte Savage w/ former Sooner great Jammal Brown)

Heyyyyyyy youuuuuu guyyyyyyyys!!!!!!

Seriously, I had to start it off by quoting one of my all time movie favorites. If you all haven’t seen “The Goonies” then we probably can’t be friends. Word on the street is a sequel or remake is in the works.  Since I won a hundred bucks one time in a costume contest for Sloth, I couldn’t resist.

As many of you know by now, I’m in the process of relocating to Chicago right now.  Before the promotion came up, the executive committee (mama) had approved some travel for me down to Norman to catch the spring game.  Being the Sooner junkie I am, I enjoy the spring game every year.  I like to sit in the end zones and move around based on where the action is happening. As, you know, you really can’t do that at regular games.  I had it all laid out on how I was going to do it this year, but with me being in the Windy City now, unfortunately I can’t make it Saturday.  That said, I wanted to let you all know what I’d be looking for if I were there. And if any of you are going, maybe you could check it out for me and report back after.

First and foremost, you have to start off up front. And I mean up front on both sides of the ball.  I really want to see how Ty Darlington is progressing, as well as Dionte Savage.  Dionte is a guy who came in over the summer last year, and eventually worked his way into a starting spot for the Alabama game.  I really want to see how an off-season has affected his development, as well as seeing his grasp of the offense.

I haven’t heard a lot about how Tyler Evans and Adam Shead are doing, so I just wanted to look and see how they would be walking around on the sidelines, etc.  Tyrus Thompson is another guy who was out for the Sugar Bowl who I wanted to see as well.  While a number of these guys not taking part in the spring game and/or being held out may cause concern for a lot of people, remember that the season is five months away.  You’d rather be out during spring, if you’re a veteran, than during the season.

Also, with these guys out, it really allows some of the young guys to get more reps and aids in their development.  Guys like Derek Farniok, Tony Feo, Kyle Marrs and others will benefit greatly from the additional reps.  I also wanted to see how much Nila Kasitati would be playing at center too.  If Tyler, Adam and Dionte are all good-to-go come regular season time, someone’s going to be the odd man out.  Also, with Darlington and Kasitati on the interior, it really creates a big of a logjam Or as I prefer to see it, an embarrassment of riches for Coach B to work with.

Something else that will be nice is that guys like Alex Dalton, Natrell Curtis and Jonathan Alvarez won’t be pressed into service before they’re ready once they arrive later this summer.  Hopefully Josiah St. John will be ready to go in the fall, Tyrus will be healed up, and we’ll have a legitimate two deep at tackle. Which will allow us to get redshirts for Orlando Brown and Kenyon Frison.

At this time last year, everyone was freaking out about the lack of depth up front defensively. Fast forward a year later, and you have a situation that may have previously been starving for depth line turn into a position group that could potentially be loaded for years to come.  As you all are well aware, we’ve heard Charles Walker’s name come up repeatedly.  We’ve heard about Matt Romar some as well, but I wanted to see Walker and some of these other veteran guys really take a big step forward.  Guys like Tapper, Chuka and Geneo, really needed to have a great winter to step to the forefront of the team.

Geneo played out of his mind against Alabama, and I wanted to see if the light came on for him for good.  For a lot of guys, going into their last season is the kick in the pants they need to have to get prepared to perform consistently.  So I’m hoping that Torrea Peterson and Quincy Russell have taken advantage of the extra time as well.  Quincy has been someone who everyone around the Sooner junkie community was expecting big things from, so I’m interested to see if he’s capable of breaking into the rotation. Last but definitely not least, I really want to see the additional weight that Jordan Wade put on.  Kid’s up to 312 pounds and is still just a redshirt sophomore. Called upon before many expected him to be last year, he played very well but took a pounding at times.  The physicality and toughness you need to play with at that position cannot be understated.  Potentially getting Phillips back this year could give us a 1-2 punch at the nose that could be the best in the country.

Just like running backs benefit from a great o-line, linebackers are better as a result of a great defensive line.  In my many years of following the Sooners, I don’t know that we’ve had as much talent and depth up front on both sides of the line as we do this year.  If Montgomery and Bedenbaugh can get them to prepare like champions every day, this team could be one that plays stifling defense.

I’m excited to see what the RB’s and LB’s bring to the table, so I’ll be outlining some things and names to look for on Wednesday.

Ok guys, we’re getting close to some more Sooner Magic. So let’s be ready for it Saturday! A big Boomer shout-out to everyone and it’s good to be back!

  • roygbell

    I have been reading this site for some time and like the content. Like you I will be watching the big uglies on both sides of the ball. My hope is that Phillips gets back healthy and that Walker lives up to the hype he has been getting. If these two pan out then the OU defense could be among the best of the Stoops years.

    • Jordan Esco

      Thanks for reading!

  • roygbell

    Forgot, what have you guys heard about Chad Lindsay [Bama guard graduate who will transfer] who is looking at OU to transfer and would be instantly eligible for his Senior year.

    • Doobie74OU

      Jordon was saying on one of the other posts that his former OC at Bama’ was at Michigan now so the prevailing opinion is he will end up there. But glad we are getting a look. I’m sure we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t just beat Bama’!

  • Doobie74OU

    CAN’T EVEN FATHOM THE 2 DEEP ON BOTH LINES OF THIS TEAM COMPARED TO THE LAST FEW YEARS! If everybody is back and healthy like we hope then they should be playing at 100 miles per hour every play. We will be rotating guys nobody will get tired and they should be able to put the clamps on just about any offense around! My leg is twitching while I’m writing this post cause I’m so jacked up for the season already! Haven’t even had spring game yet! LOL! Welcome Back JY!

    • EasTex

      By my count we have 144 days to go and I’ve been twitchy for the new season since 3 Jan.
      This will be my 54th year of following OU football.
      FIRE IT UP!

      • JY

        That’s awesome!

        • EasTex

          Glad you liked it.
          Nothing better to get the revs up than The Pride.

  • SoonerPhins

    Dionte Savage make Jamal Brown look small… I hope he earns a spot at guard, ain’t nothing moving him.

  • BozemanSooner

    good stuff Jy. I’m concerned about our interior OL depth. Can we really count on Evans or Shead on a consistent basis? Especially Shead. It’s seems to be something chronic with him. We really need guys like Marrs and Feo to develop into dependable backups. If Marrs could come on he could be a good OT OG swing guy. Call me a nervous nelly, but OL depth, especially on the interior concerns me.

    • JY

      Man I hope so!

    • Buck Irwin

      Gonna be interesting. If those with health issues are able to return and perform at full strength, this line will be solid. However, if one or more aren’t, I’m afraid we struggle because the “ability” level drops off significantly very quickly. Some of the key guys that should be ready, I don’t think are quite at the level we need them to be at. A surprise bonus could be landing Chad Lindsay. Have some history with Chad and he is smart and has gotten quality PT at Bama. I believe he is at a level physically and ability-wise that he could come in and be the starting center at OU in the fall.

  • Jason Vos

    Im telling you don’t be surprised to see Jordan Phillips play some DE next year in the 3-4, and Wade at the NT spot.

    • JY

      That would be flat filthy. I was thinking in short yardage/bear fronts with the double a gaps having Wade and Phillips in there.

  • hOUligan

    Reading my mind, JY. I led off the ‘breakout player’ write-up with olinemen: Marrs, Feo, Farniok, Hughes, etc. For me, as you said, it all starts up front. The oline to start the season looks very salty but need some depth beyond the first 6-7. There’s better depth on D, especially at the ends. Want to see if Russell is making a move. In that KFord housing it vid he posted it looked like it was QRussell at the nose and he got moved out pretty easily and the LBs over-ran the play. Thanks and will look forward to the assessment after the game.

    • JY

      Gotta let the uglies hit leadodf

    • BB

      What vid is this?

      • hOUligan

        I’m not up on all of the latest social media but think it was like a vine that Ford posted of his TD in practice. He took it down within hours. Maybe someone else can comment?

  • EasTex

    I also was thinking of Darlington and will be watching his progress. He has played well when he had the chance, but it his show now and hope he can be as solid a call maker and position player as Gabe. I’m also concerned as to who his back up will be.
    Congratulations on your promotion.

    • JY


  • Will Narramore

    Is there gonna be anywhere to watch the spring game online?

    • Daryl

      Not sure about online but fox sports Southwest or Oklahoma will be televising. Hope that helps but my guess is that it doesn’t.

    • Shelby is a Patriot

      There might be links up on http://www.firstrows.eu/ or other sites like it.

    • Jordan Esco

      Live? Probably not, though the first row link is probably your best shot.

      Afterwards, I’m positive Sooner Sports TV will make it available online (though it may be behind a paywall).

  • TDub

    JY, what we all want to know is, “Can you do the Truffle Shuffle?”

  • leatherneck1061

    Curious to know what the latest on Phillips is….I guess I took for granted that he would be back this year. Oh, and loved the Goonies reference. Remember, it’s “Captain Chunk”.