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Jason Kersey: OU's defensive line, linebackers and offensive linemen are the unknowns for 2012

The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at
by Jason Kersey Modified: August 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm •  Published: August 13, 2012

The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at

In your opinion, what is OU's biggest weakness?

I'm not sure about weaknesses, necessarily, because I think OU is pretty talented at just about every position. But as far as unknowns go, I think there are certainly questions regarding OU's defensive line, linebackers and offensive linemen. It's funny, OU's DBs got so much criticism last year (and rightfully so), but that is probably the defensive unit that seems the most solid at this point.

Where does Jordan Phillips sit in the DT rotation?

Jordan Phillips is a guy everyone seems very, very impressed by. He's got experienced guys in front of him on the depth chart, but I think there's little doubt that Phillips will find his way onto the field this season. He could wind up being a big time contributor this fall and, beyond that, he's got a huge upside moving forward.

What your way-too-early prediction for Kruger's starting line up? I'll go with Grooms, Pledger, Clark, M'Baye, Osby.

What about Fitzgerald? Started all 31 games last year and averaged 12 points a game.

Who is going to be the slot receiver this year? Shepard? Brown? Stills?

That's the million dollar question. Shepard was the favorite, in my opinion, before Brown showed up, but now it sounds to me like Stills is being moved into a more slot-type role to get Brown, Metoyer and Bester the outside looks. Then there is Jalen Saunders, the Fresno State transfer who could find his way into the rotation if he's ruled eligible by the NCAA. I still think Shepard is going to compete for those snaps in the slot, but if I had to make a guess today, I'd probably go with Stills.

I read the article you wrote about the Sooners being short on the o-line and how it reminds you of '09. I wouldn't go that far. Ikard has proved he can play center and Austin has proved he can play. Pass blocking is really just getting in the way anymore. But you never know what will happen, although I do feel more confident in this Sooner team -- more so than the years past. I don't think people give the d-line enough credit either. Wort is a good football player so are David King and RJ Washington. And Hurst back at corner. I don't think you will see as many busted plays as last year and I definitely dont think you will see another '09 -- sorry to disagree with you.

Yes, things don't quite look as bleak as 09, just because they had guys like Bronson Irwin and Adam Shead ready to step in to starting roles, and Ikard could easily shift over to center. But if one more guy goes down, especially on the interior part of the line, OU might really be in trouble up front. I certainly don't think this year is in danger of being another 2009, necessarily, but the injuries are definitely something to be concerned about. On the defensive line, I think Washington and King will both be fine, and I think there are some good young guys ready to get playing time. But I think anytime you're replacing two All-Big 12 guys at one position, there are bound to be growing pains

What are the chances of someone from the Big 12 contending for the national championship?

Oh, I think there's a decent shot of either OU or West Virginia being in the national championship picture. But honestly I think the SEC and Pac-12 have the top-tier teams (Oregon, USC, Alabama, USC) that are the big favorites to be the contenders.

Jason, what has happened with Kass Everett? I thought coming out of juco he was supposed to really compete for the open corner spot. I haven't even heard his name mentioned.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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