NORMAN — Oklahoma released an “unofficial” depth chart on the athletic department's official website. No big surprises, but here are some thoughts on the first depth chart we've seen from the program since the spring.
* I was a little surprised to see Michael Onuoha listed as Chuka Ndulue's sole backup, and Rashod Favors or Charles Tapper as R.J. Washington's. Indications really seemed to be that Tapper was ahead of Onuoha, but maybe that isn't the case. Both true freshmen have impressed coaches and will earn playing time, so I don't know how much we should really read into this. But it was noticeable to me.
* At middle linebacker, Tom Wort's backup is listed as either redshirt freshman Frank Shannon or Jaydan Bird. Same thing at weakside backer, with Aaron Franklin or Joseph Ibiloye. Again, my impression had been that seniors Bird and Ibiloye were the solid backups, but I think that speaks to the strong camps that Shannon and Franklin had.
* No strongside backer listed on this depth chart, but that isn't really a surprise. We knew that Mike Stoops loves to play with five defensive backs. Junior Gabe Lynn, much maligned for last year's struggles against Texas Tech, is the starter at nickelback, with Julian Wilson and Kass Everett behind him.
* True freshman Gary Simon is listed as Aaron Colvin's backup at right corner, and both senior Lamar Harris and true freshman Zack Sanchez are listed as backups to Demontre Hurst on the left side. Simon isn't a surprise at all; he's long been expected to be in the rotation. But Sanchez, who Stoops said Monday should get playing time, must've had a really strong camp to be listed on the depth chart.
* Junior Austin Woods — whose resolve and fight in his well-known battle against cancer has been very admirable — is listed as Bronson Irwin's backup at right guard. Woods will still be the deep snapper on field goals, and he's always been listed at center. True freshman Ty Darlington is listed as Gabe Ikard's backup there, though, and I think that speaks to the thin depth the Sooners have on the interior of the offensive line.
* No surprises at wide receiver, with Trey Metoyer, Justin Brown and Kenny Stills listed as starters and Lacoltan Bester, Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard backing them up, respectively. Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders is not listed at all, although Stoops said he expects to hear back on his NCAA waiver request for immediate playing time Tuesday. If he's able to play, that makes things awfully interesting, because Stoops said he's been playing as an inside receiver. Would that push Shepard out of the top rotation? I can't imagine that it would, but Saunders would be a tough player to keep out if he's able to play.
* Geneo Grissom or Brannon Green are listed as the starter at tight end, with true freshman Taylor McNamara also listed as a backup. All three will play, Stoops said, but all indications have been that Grissom has taken hold of the starting spot since moving over from defensive end before the summer. Green, a junior-college transfer, was the starter listed on the spring depth chart.