May 25, 2007

Plenty of changes at defensive end

The defensive end position is one of the biggest areas of transition from 2006 to 2007. The Sooners lose three productive starters in C.J. Ah You, Larry Birdine and Calvin Thibodeaux as they head into the fall.

How will defensive end coach Chris Wilson deal with the massive changes? He'll start off with two veterans in Alonzo Dotson and John Williams. But OU historically plays three to four defensive ends during games.

That means the Sooners will need to find at least two more players capable of making an impact. Auston English may be talented enough to surpass Dotson or Williams but after that the candidates could be few and far between. Editor Carey Murdock takes a look at the defensive end position and gives his grades on their spring production.

Alonzo Dotson - If you take the entire spring into account, there isn't a player on the roster more capable or likely to make a big impact at the position in 2007. Dotson has had plenty of ups and downs in his career at Oklahoma.

In his first two years at OU, Dotson was slow to the punch. Even though he had the physical ability to make an impact, talent ahead of him and the mental aspect of the position kept him a step behind.

And just when Dotson appeared poised to make a jump into the starting rotation, academic issues sidelined him for a year.

Some players might have given up, but Dotson used that year of ineligibility to work on the scout team. He developed himself on and off the field. Chris Wilson was ecstatic when talking about Dotson's attitude and abilities.

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