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Berry Tramel: Changes coming for OU's defense

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat covering the Sooners, Oklahoma State, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and more. Here's a look at the Q&A.
Oklahoman Modified: March 28, 2013 at 11:42 am •  Published: March 28, 2013

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on Here’s a recap of today’s Q&A.


Q: What is the latest with OU’s projected change to a 3-man front on defense?

A: They keep talking like they want to stay a 4-3. But I think that's a mirage. I think OU is going to implement a 3-4. Not totally, perhaps. But in large part. And by the way, I am going on record right now. I am not going to call it a 3-4. I am going to call it a 5-2. This is Oklahoma, where the 5-2 was perfected, if not invented.

Will Roy Finch ever get out of Stoops’ doghouse?

Another great question. I'm going to have to guess no. I'm not sure I've seen a guy who went from rising star to third- or fourth-teamer in such a quick fashion. I have no idea what's going on.

It seems as if there is hardly any news coming out of OU’s spring practices. Am I mistaken?

You are not mistaken. What comes out of OU is pretty boring. If you can't see practice, you have to rely on what people say, and maybe nothing's going on.

What is going on with the QB battle with OU?

Who knows? That's the mystery. We might not even see anything out of the spring game. I'll bet it's pretty vanilla.

Do you think Bennett and Spangler will both start next year with the departure of M'Baye?

Good chance, although I thought Cameron Clark was good at times playing inside. He's a much better player as an interior player who can jump outside than a wing player. Look for Clark to have a big year.

Has D.J. Ward been cleared by NCAA to practice?

Not that I'm aware of. What a total mess for Ward.

Do the OU women have one more shot at the dunkmaster from Baylor?

I think so. My pastor is a big Tennessee fan. He grew up in Knoxville. Loves women's basketball. He thinks OU will beat the Vols.



The talk last year of the Chelf/Walsh/Lunt QB derby eventually "exposed" that maybe Chelf wasn't a good practice player. Wasn't that the knock on Weeden before he took over for Cate in that Thursday night Colorado game? I'm still in the Chelf camp for the Cowboys based purely on game performance. Agree or no?

The Chelf-didn't-practice-well theory came to light AFTER Chelf's rise. Gundy talked about it in December. That was the knock on Weeden, not necessarily that he didn't practice all that well, it's just that he was sort of a goof-off who didn't take it seriously. On the other hand, I've often wondered if that story on Weeden wasn't embellished as a way to cover the ridiculous decision to start Cate against Colorado.

I know it's early, but OSU looks to have the most dominant pair of D tackles in the league. A lot of defense coming back and lots of talent on the offensive side. Are they favored to win the league to start the season?

I think OSU or TCU will be favored. Maybe Texas. But if someone moves Texas up, it will be at TCU's expense. I think it's quite possible that OSU will be picked to win the Big 12.



We saw some new changes in the rotation a little last night. Was Brooks experimenting against an inferior team to see what might work for the playoffs?

No, I don't think so. I asked him about that and he said he generally has his ideal rotation in mind, but wants the ability to remain flexible. And last night, Westbrook's early foul trouble threw everything out of kilter.

If the Thunder make it to the Finals and play the Heat, what do you think their chances are?

I'd give the Thunder about a 35 percent chance of winning. Which is not great at all. Last year, I'd have given OKC about a 55 percent chance of winning.

I know it takes way too much energy to really expect Westbrook to play hard-nosed defense the entire game because he has a ruthless style of play. But in my mind if he could limit some of his gambles he could be an all-defensive team player. He has the size, speed, strength, and obviously athleticism to be a lockdown defender.

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