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OU football: Defense to see more changes with lineman Jordan Phillips out for season

In Phillips' place, much of that pressure will fall on redshirt freshman Jordan Wade, who has started the last two weeks in Phillips' place against TCU and Texas.
by Jason Kersey Published: October 14, 2013


photo - TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE: Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips (80) reacts to a stop in front of Tulsa 's Jake Alexander (77) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Tulsa Hurricane (TU) at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 in Norman, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE: Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips (80) reacts to a stop in front of Tulsa 's Jake Alexander (77) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Tulsa Hurricane (TU) at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

“He's a big, strong, physical guy,” junior defensive end Chuka Ndulue said of Wade. “He looks peaceful and quiet when he's walking, but when he puts that helmet on, he's a different animal.

“Being out there with him, he's grown up. He's finally being a student of the game and getting his mentality up, and just understanding.”

Oklahoma's defensive line was considered among the weakest units on the entire team before the 2013 season. Five senior defensive linemen graduated off the 2012 team, leaving little experience or depth.

But Phillips made dramatic improvement throughout the offseason, finally playing to his enormous potential under first-year defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery.

Through the Sooners' first four games, Phillips provided a dominant force inside the defensive line, getting good pressure on opposing quarterbacks and helping defend the run. He recorded seven tackles — two for loss — and 1.5 sacks in his four starts.

The Oklahoma defense played well against TCU without Phillips, but Texas gashed the Sooners, rushing for 255 yards as a team on 60 attempts.

“It's gonna have a big impact on us guys on the D-line because he made such a big impact,” sophomore defensive end Charles Tapper said of Phillips' injury. “He dominated the middle and was like a big brother to the whole D-line. Losing him is mentally hard as much as it is physical.”

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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