OU dealing with defensive line depth issues

NORMAN, Okla. -- At the moment, the Sooners are still without their two projected starting defensive tackles in Stacy McGee and Casey Walker. McGee remains suspended for a violation of university rules. Walker has not been at practice for more than a week as he deals with a personal issue.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he’s not concerned with who’s missing.

“We coach our players who are there and we try to put them in the best position to do the things we need them to do to be successful and coach the players and scheme the guys we have,” Stoops said. “Who we don’t have, we really don’t worry about them.”

In place of McGee and Walker, David King and Jamarkus McFarland took almost every snap at tackle against UTEP and performed well as the Miners offense was kept out of the end zone.

“We play with the guys we have and coach them all the same and hopefully we won’t have to change our defense too much based on the personnel we have available,” Stoops said.

With Torrea Peterson also out with an academic issue, Stoops is hopeful some of his younger tackles like Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson will develop to where he can play them on a more consistent basis. Neither player got more than three snaps apiece in El Paso.

“It just wasn’t a comfortable feeling and I think our offense settled in and starting making some drives so I didn’t think we were too gassed (on defense),” Stoops said. “We stuck with the guys on the first line probably more than we would have liked but as the season goes on you hope younger players progress and continue to gain confidence and trust in what they’re doing.”