March 6, 2007

Spring Preview: Beal's New Home?

Spring practices are less than a month away and we're taking a look at the major battles ahead in the months to come. Quarterback, linebacker, defensive end and offensive tackle will be the headline attractions.

But there are several positions looking to replace departing starters. Editor Carey Murdock takes a look at our fifth position of interest this spring, defensive ends.

Outgoing Players: Larry Birdine
2006 Season Stats:
39 tackles, three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

C.J. Ah You
2006 Season Stats:
41 tackles, four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Calvin Thibodeaux:
2006 Season Stats:
31 tackles, one sack and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Most difficult quality to replace: Production - With the exception of Alonzo Dotson, the Sooners do not return a single player who made a major impact at defensive end in 2006.

Sure, John Williams has shown a lot of promise during his career at Oklahoma, but injuries have derailed his progress over the last two years. When healthy, Williams has been a stellar defender.

Dotson did make big plays last year during the last half of the season. It can even be argued that he made plays that the outgoing players weren't capable of making at times.

The Sooners will have to rely on players who haven't taken meaningful snaps to backup Dotson and Williams, but that pool of talent is deep.

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