Even before the first practice, the Sooners have been dealt a serious and scary blow on the defensive side of the ball.
Lincoln Riley says, “Jalen Redmond found out two or three weeks ago, found a couple of blood clots with him. Jalen’s doing really well now. We feel like it’s something we’re passed but he will miss this season.”
But despite the loss of the prized Midwest city prospect, Mike Stoops still says this Sooners defensive line is the most improved position group.
Mike Stoops says, “We’re developing some quality depth. Not just depth but guys that we feel like can play and really make a difference.”
One of those difference makers is linebacker Kenneth Murray. Murray earned the starting middle linebacker role as a freshman making him the quarterback of the defense. Despite ups and downs Murray is ready to prove there’s no chance of a sophomore slump.
Kenneth Murray says, “I learned a lot last year starting every game you get a lot of experience, you learn a lot and put it all together so I’m looking forward to a big year.”
Caleb Kelly says, “A lot of the stuff that people were saying were his fault were not his fault at all. People didn’t know like the Rose Bowl he almost had a perfect game. It was one of his best games and everyone put the blame on him. Being so hard on him as the fans were and the announcers were, that was wrong.”
Oklahoma finished last season 67th in total defense. In turn, not a single Sooner defender was named to the preseason all big 12 team. One player told me it was wrong, and it’s something that has absolutely been a motivating factor for this team.
Parnell Motley says, “To me I don’t really feed into that BS. I just keep my head in the game and see what I can do for myself and my team this year. That’s just the media and what they see.”
Murray says, “I would be mad if i wasn’t on the real all Big 12 list. Obviously it’s a preseason list, the season hasn’t even played yet. Like I said before, the real ballers are going to show up on Saturday so that’s all I’m going to say.”
Despite the lack of love from the media, Lincoln Riley is thrilled about the direction of the defense.
Riley says, “I think we’ve had good talent but we haven’t had the talent to be elite on defense, and I think we’re getting back close to that. I don’t feel like we’re far off there at all.”