Stillwater News Press

August 29, 2012

Concerns swirl around Oklahoma's defensive line

By John Shinn
CNHI News Service

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma’s defensive line has dealt with depth concerns since practice began. Another issue has risen in the last day.

Following Wednesday’s practice, OU coach Bob Stoops said senior defensive tackle Casey Walker could miss Saturday’s season opener at UTEP due to a “personal issue.”

“Unsure right now,” Stoops said when asked about Walker’s status for the game. Stoops said the issue is not a football related issue.

Walker is currently listed as a starter at one of the defensive tackle spots, along with David King. If Walker cannot play, senior Jamarkus McFarland will likely get the start. Redshirt freshman Jordan Phillips is also listed on the two-deep depth chart and the Sooners were hoping to rotate all four at the two defensive tackle spots against the Miners.

Walker started eight games last season and has 12 career starts since the 2010 season. He finished the 2011 season with 11 tackles and a sack.

OU’s depth at defensive tackle already took a hit when senior Stacy McGee was given an indefinite suspension two weeks ago. McGee will not make the trip to El Paso, Texas for the game.

Stoops also said he still hasn’t received final word on the status of junior wide receiver Jalen Saunders. Saunders, who transferred to OU from Fresno State in January, has appealed to the NCAA to be granted immediate eligibility. It still hasn’t issued a final ruling.

“He’ll be ready to play if he’s cleared,” Stoops said. “If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”