In the weeks leading up to the Cotton Bowl, SoonerNation will take a look back at how the Sooners performed position-by-position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we examine the defensive tackle position.
Highlights: The defensive tackle trio of Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee was dominant through October wins over Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas. Walker capped off the streak with a 45-yard fumble return in the rout of the Jayhawks. Over that stretch, Tech managed 89 yards on 32 carries; Texas, 74 yards on 23 carries; and Kansas, 185 yards, but on 58 carries.
Lowlights: Before the October stretch, the tackles struggled in the 24-19 loss to Kansas State, which prompted Barry Switzer among others to call out the position publicly. Late in the season, the OU defensive tackles were pretty average, too. Notre Dame, West Virginia and Oklahoma State did wanted they wanted to on the ground, and OU couldn’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks without bringing the house.
Surprises: At a position where the top three players were veteran seniors, there were no surprises. The Sooners knew what they were getting from McFarland, Walker and McGee, who had comprised the rotation the previous two seasons.
Grade: C+ With no Tommie Harris or Gerald McCoy, the defensive tackles had to get by with grit effort. Walker, McGee and McFarland played hard, and in several games played well. But at the beginning and end of the season, the lack of an all-conference performer caused the Sooners to be vulnerable.