Oklahoma Sooners defensive backs in for a battle in spring ball

Last year, by and large, was a solid year for Oklahoma’s defensive backs. If there’s a knock against them, it was their inconsistency.

Billy Bowman was a bright spot for the Sooner. He recorded 63 tackles, six interceptions, three pick-sixes, four pass breakups, and three tackles for loss last year and should have been an All-American.

Elsewhere, guys made plays but struggled to string together the caliber of performances that Bowman had.

There were moments when Gentry Williams was excellent but never sustained his level of play due to a shoulder injury he dealt with for most of the year. His inability to stay on the field had a negative impact on the defense.

Kendel Dolby had moments, in particular at cheetah. So did Woodi Washington. Former five-star freshman Peyton Bowen also flashed at moments but lacked consistency.

So what have we learned? Talent won’t be an issue in 2024. Consistency is the name of the game. And as the Sooners get deeper into spring practice and summer preparations for the season, we’ll be on the lookout for more consistency.

According to reports, coaches have Washington working at cornerback, nickel corner, safety, and cheetah. San Diego State transfer Dez Malone is working to acclimate himself, giving Oklahoma length and another veteran option out at corner. He tallied 90 tackles, three for loss, one sack, four interceptions, and 12 pass breakups from 2022-2023.

In-house, the Sooners need leaps from multiple guys. Reggie Pearson is gone, and Key Lawrence transferred to Ole Miss. Pair that with the need for depth at all secondary spots, and things will get interesting. Billy Bowman and Peyton Bowen are likely your starting safeties but don’t be surprised if Robert Spears-Jennings gets significant playing time at safety as well.

Spears-Jennings is looking to take a big step forward in year three. He feels like a guy we could see much of when Oklahoma goes into three safety looks. After that, Oklahoma will depend on youth. Four-star freshmen Reggie Powers and Jaydan Hardy will likely have to contribute somehow.

Woodi figures to be a starter somewhere on this defense, and barring health issues, Williams is a starting corner, too.

At cornerback, Makari Vickers, Jasiah Wagoner, and Jacobe Johnson offer a lot of talent and saw time on the field last year. If they come along, Oklahoma’s depth would be outstanding.

Who is the cheetah? Justin Harrington is recovering from the injury he suffered early season against SMU and isn’t participating in spring practices. Dasan McCullough is working full-time as a linebacker right now.

Kendel Dolby is an option, and sophomore now sees reps at the versatile spot too. Maybe four-star prospect Michael Boganowski will join the mix as he finds a positional home.

Ultimately, there are a ton of question marks about Oklahoma’s secondary heading into the spring. There’s good potential, but a lack of experience on the depth chart. It’s a group that has to get more consistent for the Sooners to contend in the SEC.

Cornerbacks coach Jay Valai and safety coach Brandon Hall have their work cut out for them as the Sooners prepare for 2024.

Contact/Follow us @SoonersWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Oklahoma news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Bryant on Twitter @thatmanbryant.

Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire