OU opens up their home slate against Western Carolina on Saturday evening. On paper, OU is favored in every way. However, that meant nothing to the Green Wave of Tulane, who brought it nonstop for 4 quarters to a talented but unfocused and inconsistent OU defense that just wasn’t completely dialed in.
Expect that to change this week as they ready for a Western Carolina team that just lost a tough game against Eastern Kentucky at home. Let’s take a look at three guys that are players to watch as they look to turn in a more dominant performance.
Perrion Winfrey is the proverbial BIG DOG inside for this OU defense. He was considered a top 100 pick in almost every mock draft or preseason draft rankings list. Todd McShay, a leading draft analyst even placed him in his top 30 draft prospects. He hasn’t racked up the sacks in his time here at Oklahoma but that’s fine because his value is much more than just sacks. He’s disruptive at the point of attack for teams forcing teams to change whole game plans mid-game. OU struggled to keep the heat on Tulane QB Michael Pratt at times. and he subsequently lit them up for 296 yards and three touchdown passes as they pushed Oklahoma deep into the fourth quarter.
Winfrey has to be dominant and blow up the interior. WCU QB Rogan Wells is nowhere near as mobile as Pratt but he’s a senior and has played a lot of college football. Getting him flushed out of the pocket and forcing him to throw off platform and on the run could lead to mistakes the Sooners can capitalize on. Look for him to cause havoc while in the game.
NEXT: A linebacker and defensive back set to make plays.
David Ugwoegbu, a junior linebacker from Katy, Texas is a specimen in every sense of the word. He stands 6’4 and north of 235 pounds. He’s the most imposing player in the Sooners linebacker unit by far. He’s teetering on the edge of breaking through to stardom for me personally. Today, I believe he takes another step towards that. OU has a nice steady rotation between he, Dashaun White, Brian Asamoah, and captain Caleb Kelly. Ugwoegbu’s size and athleticism can’t be taught or found anywhere else.
I’ll be looking at him to flow to the ball and make some tackles and blow up a screen or two and take another step forward to vying for full-time snaps.
Cornerback D.J. Graham made waves last season after coming on late and providing some major juice at corner opposite Woodi Washington. Both guys carried their momentum into the summer and have become the team’s starting corners. Graham, a converted wide receiver has ball skills that the other defensive backs just don’t have. His technique continues to improve and there’s reason to believe he’ll show himself well against these WCU receivers. He thrives way more playing up and in press coverage. Look for Grinch to utilize that and have Graham reroute these Catamount receivers and for Graham to put in an excellent day in coverage.