Breaking down the preseason depth chart
Oklahoma’s preseason depth chart is only a day old and already there’s been a major change to the 2-deep.
Ryan Reynolds, who was left off the initial list, has been moved ahead of Mike Balogun at middle linebacker.
The reason for this change?
A guess is that because Reynolds has been injured for so long, his omission was an oversight by the coaching staff. Clearly, when healthy, he is OU’s top option in the middle.
Whatever the reason, both linebackers will play in the fall. If Reynolds, coming off another knee surgery, is 90 percent or better, he’ll start and play the majority of the snaps. But Balogun’s spring performance has warranted him at least a part-time spot in the middle. If Reynolds is slow to regain some of his speed, Balogun will play even more. It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Brent Venables rotates Balogun, Reynolds and Austin Box in the middle. It’s not a bad problem to have though, at least a lot better problem than Venables had the day after last year’s OU-Texas game when he had to move Nic Harris from safety to middle linebacker.
Some other thoughts on the preseason depth chart:
* The coaches must really be trying to motivate Landry Jones to take command of the second-string QB spot after he and true freshman Drew Allen were both listed as the second-team QBs. At some point, odds are that Jones will have to throw a meaningful pass this season.
* After three players at the position left during the offseason, guard is the position to be nervous about with this team. Brian Simmons and Stephen Good should be fine. But if either is tagged by an injury, it could create a lot of problems for the line. Right now, Tavaris Jeffries, a lightly recruited junior-college transfer, and Tyler Evans, a true freshman who just got to campus, are the top backups. It’s a lot to ask either of those players to contribute immediately. In an emergency situation, like something happens to either Good or Simmons, look for offensive line coach James Patton to try and slide Donald Stephenson, currently listed as a backup left tackle, to guard, or swing Brian Lepak back there and hope Ben Habern stays healthy at center.
* Sophomores Jameel Owens and Dejuan Miller, both listed on the third team, might be in the minds of the offensive coaches another year away from making significant contributions at wide receiver. Look for the WR rotation to largely comprise Cameron Kenney, Ryan Broyles, Adron Tennell, Brandon Caleb and Mossis Madu to begin the season.
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