Under the radar Defensive player to watch for the Sooners vs WVU

·2 min read

Oklahoma’s defense will get a chance tomorrow under the lights to continue solidifying itself as one of the best units in college football. Coming off an excellent performance against an elusive quarterback in Adrian Martinez of Nebraska, the Sooners will look to slow down a more balanced West Virginia offensive attack as they open Big 12 play at home.

The Mountaineers have a more traditional quarterback in redshirt senior Jarret Doege than Adrian Martinez, who was more mobile than prototypical quarterbacks. Senior running back Leddie Brown is the man in front on the ground posting 19 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown last game against a stout Virginia Tech front seven. Wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton presents a challenge outside the numbers due to his height and ability to go and get the ball.

The Sooners will need their big names to show up to put themselves in position for another win. In every game, though, complementary players show up that ultimately help decide the games. For this game, we’re going to look at defensive tackle Joshua Ellison.

Ellison, a transfer from JUCO Blinn College, has had a steady career so far at Oklahoma. He will have an opportunity to cement himself these next few weeks following the announcement of starter Jalen Redmond’s injury. Ellison’s contributions as a rotational defensive lineman have been valuable, but he’ll be asked to contribute more now that the starter in Redmond is out.

Ellison can’t slide outside like Redmond, but he’s solid in occupying gaps, using his hands, and moving interior offensive linemen inside. The defensive line is the foundation for Oklahoma’s defensive success and its deepest unit. Grinch may have to swap out Ellison on passing downs for someone like LaRon Stokes. Still, Ellison’s primary focus should be to eat space and stymie a West Virginia run game that needs to get going to keep Oklahoma from pinning their ears back and rushing the passer constantly.

The Sooners have a lot of depth on the defensive front seven. Joshua Ellison ultimately has to do his job. He doesn’t have to try to be Jalen Redmond but instead play assignment sound and mistake-free football. His talent will take care of the rest. He’s surrounded by some serious playmakers defensively that can pick up the playmaking slack.

List

9 Bold Predictions for the Oklahoma Sooners' matchup with West Virginia