No. 20 Oklahoma rolls out rebuilt defense vs. Arkansas State

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During his time as a defensive coordinator at Clemson and before that at Oklahoma, Brent Venables established a reputation as one of college football’s top defensive minds.

So it was especially disappointing for Venables, during his first season as Oklahoma’s head coach, that the Sooners’ defense struggled as they slipped to a 6-7 finish in 2022.

The defense finished near the bottom nationally in total defense, struggling in virtually every area.

When the 20th-ranked Sooners open the season at home against Arkansas State on Saturday, the personnel on defense will look much different than it did last season.

Venables and defensive coordinator Ted Roof made overhauling the defense a particular emphasis in the offseason, adding a wave of experience in the transfer portal — defensive ends Rondell Bothroyd from Wake Forest and Trace Ford from Oklahoma State, interior linemen Jacob Lacey from Notre Dame, Da’Jon Terry to Tennessee and Davon Sears from Texas State, linebacker Dasan McCullough from Indiana, safety Reggie Pearson from Texas Tech.

Venables was frustrated with his team’s depth all around, but particularly on defense.

Heading into the opener, Venables said he feels much better about where his team stands entering his second season.

“I thought we were soft in short-yardage situations and got knocked off the ball,” Venables said. Venables was frustrated with his team’s depth, especially on defense. Our football IQ is better. … I feel that we’ve done ourselves a favor by developing the players on our roster, and some of the new portal guys we have recruited. “

The Oklahoma Sooners were also ranked number one the last time they faced Arkansas State. 20. Oklahoma won that game 45-7 in 2000 and went on to an undefeated season and the program’s seventh national championship – with Venables as co-defensive coordinator.

Arkansas State is coming off an even tougher season than the Sooners, going 3-9 in 2022 in its second season under Butch Jones.

The Red Wolves are looking for their first win over a Power Five opponent since 2020, when they knocked off Kansas State.

Arkansas State hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since knocking off No. The Red Wolves are looking for their first win over a Power Five opponent since 2020, when they beat Kansas State.

Arkansas State hasn’t beaten ranked opponents since knocking off No. When you play an opponent of Oklahoma’s caliber, you can expose everything you do. This includes fundamentals, details and simple things such as your hand placement and the mentality or violence you use to play. I also include your style of playing, your discipline in executing play-in and out, and your ability to deal with the noise and clutter of the crowd. Shrout.

Shrout spent the last two seasons at Colorado, throwing for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games last season after playing for Tennessee from 2018-200.

Shrout beat out redshirt freshman Jaxon Dailey for the starting spot. Jones said that Shrout’s consistency and experience helped turn things around. Shrout.

Shrout spent the last two seasons at Colorado, throwing for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games last season, after playing for Tennessee from 2018-20.

Shrout beat out redshirt freshman Jaxon Dailey for the starting spot, with Jones saying Shrout’s consistency and experience helped turn the tide.

“We’ll see how that goes,” Jones said.

–Field Level Media