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Much is going to look different for an Oklahoma Sooners defense that was supposed to be the best unit they’d deploy under former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
A lot of the defensive front that helped produce sacks and tackles for loss is gone to the NFL, and so is Brian Asamoah, the linebacker that led the Sooners in tackles in 2021. While they’ve experienced a bunch of turnover, one spot where they have good experienced depth is at linebacker with the return of DaShaun White, David Ugwoegbu, Danny Stutsman, and Shane Whitter. That was already a solid unit with the chance to be Oklahoma’s best defensive group, and then they added T.D. Roof in the transfer portal and a good young trio of linebackers in the 2022 recruiting class with Jaren Kanak, Kobie McKinzie, and Kip Lewis.
But even with the talent and the depth that the Sooners have at linebacker, potentially the most important addition to the linebacker group was head coach Brent Venables.
Venables’ experience at the position, tenacity, and drive will bring out the best versions of the returning Oklahoma Sooners. With Venables and the experience returning at the position, the Oklahoma Sooners were picked by David Kenyon of Bleacher Report to be the best linebacker unit in the Big 12 for the 2022 season.
Most importantly, Oklahoma has the players. DaShaun White notched 61 tackles last season, while David Ugwoegbu made 48 stops. Danny Stutsman added 38 in his injury-shortened year, and Shane Whitter contributed 27 more as a rotational player. For good measure, Appalachian State transfer T.D. Roof brings four seasons of experience and recorded 68 tackles last year. Similar to Cincinnati, the head coach is another positive. Brent Venables played linebacker in college and has coached the position for nearly three decades, building a reputation for strong development that figures to continue in Norman. – Kenyon, Bleacher Report
Much of the optimism surrounding the Oklahoma Sooners on defense stems from the addition of Brent Venables and what he’s been able to accomplish as a defensive coordinator for more than two decades. Venables was a part of three national championship-winning teams and played for several more because of the defensive prowess he brought to the field.
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