TULSA — Coach Bob Stoops won’t discern which defense has been his best since taking over at Oklahoma a decade ago.
But he believes this season’s defense, which returns nine starters and several key reserves, has the potential to be as good as any other.
"It has a chance to be a very good one,” Stoops said Thursday from the OU caravan in Tulsa.
"And who knows, maybe it has a chance to be the best.”
While the Sooner defense didn’t have a banner year statistically last season (No. 58 nationally) and surrendered several big plays early on in Big 12 play, Stoops has plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a future first-round NFL Draft choice, will be one of the favorites considered for preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Travis Lewis, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, returns at outside linebacker after breaking Brian Bosworth’s school record for tackles in a season by a freshman.
And Tulsa native Dominique Franks, who also attended the caravan with Stoops, provides the Sooners with a lock-down cornerback and playmaker in the secondary.
Those three players are big reasons why Phil Steele’s college football magazine ranks OU as having the best defensive line, third-best linebacking corps and 15th-best defensive backfield in the nation.