May 30, 2007

Injuries derailing DT potential?

Excitement is building in the Oklahoma program after two years of standout recruiting at the defensive tackle position. Demarcus Granger and Gerald McCoy gave the Sooners back-to-back signings of the nation's top high school defensive tackles.

Those signings were needed to replace the losses of players such as Moe Dampeer and Dusty Dvoracek in recent seasons. Dampeer was a talented player who never pulled it together off the field, while Dvoracek stumbled, but redeemed himself for a final senior season two years ago.

The Sooners appeared to be a team without stars at the defensive tackle position heading into the 2006 season. But Steven Coleman stepped up and took over while Demarcus Granger finally made great strides last year as well.

The Sooners will lose Carl Pendleton who gave up his senior season of football after receiving a post-graduate scholarship which celebrated his academic achievements at OU.

With young talent growing up quickly, this appears to be the best collection of talent at defensive tackle the Sooners have put on the field since Tommie Harris and Dvoracek held court on the front lines.

Steven Coleman - Coleman was the Sooners' most dynamic playmaker at defensive tackle last season. His three sacks was tied for second best among all defenders in 2006. His five tackles for losses was also best among all defensive tackles.

Coleman biggest advantage and his biggest asset is his size. At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds he was the only athletic big man capable of handling oversized offensive lineman a year ago.

That's not to say Coleman is just a big stiff either. His quickness and ability to gain leverage on his opponents was flat out better than anyone else on the defensive line a year ago.

Coleman may not appear on any All-American lists heading into the 2007 season, but he is quickly becoming one of the better defensive tackles in the Big 12 Conference.

Coleman sat out the spring recovering from a hamstring injury, but he is already back to full speed and ready for summer workouts.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!