Under Brent Venables, Oklahoma defense will give rise to new stars

·2 min read

Oklahoma is in a much different place than it was on defense a year ago. Heading into 2021, the unit had high expectations with so many returning starters. Yet, it didn’t perform as well as expected for an experienced group that had five players selected in the 2022 NFL draft.

With the start of the 2022 season, the Oklahoma defense doesn’t have the same star power it did a year ago, but many project the unit to be better. A big reason is Brent Venables. However, instead of a unit loaded with stars, the Sooners 2022 defense looks more like a nebula a couple weeks away from the start of the regular season.

Some nebulae form from the explosion of a dying star, a supernova. In other nebulae, stars are born.

And that’s what the Oklahoma Sooners defense has gone through this offseason — a transition phase. Stars Nik Bonitto, Perrion Winfrey, Isaiah Thomas, Brian Asamoah, Delarrin Turner-Yell and Patrick Fields (Stanford) have moved on, providing opportunities for guys on the depth chart to rise to the occasion.

Despite the losses, there’s optimism for what’s being formed in Norman.

Like a nebula before a star is born, the Oklahoma Sooners defense has been under intense pressure from Venables, his defensive staff and Jerry Schmidt’s strength and conditioning program. Under the right amount of pressure, the gasses and particles in a nebula collide, creating a perfect storm for stars to form.

And as the Oklahoma Sooners continue to work through fall camp, the 2022 season will be a coming out party for several individuals and a defense that has the talent but hasn’t quite “arrived.”

The Sooners defense will be better in 2022 because of the collective improvement of the unit as a whole under the coaching staff’s intense pressure.

The list of players that have a chance to explode into stardom in 2022 is long. Reggie Grimes, Ethan Downs, Marcus Stripling, Danny Stutsman, Jalen Redmond, Billy Bowman and several others have been tabbed as potential breakout stars for the Sooners. From the defensive front to the secondary, the Sooners’ defense is loaded with potential star power.

In another season with high expectations, the Sooners will witness the dawn of a new era of Oklahoma defense through the birth of several new stars.

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Where does Oklahoma rank in the first AP Top 25 of 2022?

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire