Fall camp position battles to watch for the Oklahoma Sooners




 

Fall camp is underway, and the Oklahoma Sooners are now about the task of figuring out how their depth chart will lay out when they head into the season opener against the UTEP Miners on September 3.

What it looks like week one doesn't mean that's how the depth chart will stay for week two, but it will give us a good indication as to how the coaches feel about certain positions going into the season.

Recently, I attempted to project what the offensive depth chart could look like for Oklahoma to start the season. However, several position battles will help the depth chart take shape.

Let's take a look at some key position battles for the Oklahoma Sooners in fall camp.

Right Tackle

 

BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN

Four spots along the offensive line appear all but locked in. From left to right, Anton Harrison, McKade Mettauer, Andrew Raym, and Chris Murray look to be starting along the offensive line. That leaves right tackle as a pivotal position battle that the Sooners must sort out in fall camp.

In our offensive depth chart projections, Wanya Morris got the nod, but TCU transfer Tyler Guyton and former top prospects Aaryn Parks and Savion Byrd will contend for playing time as well.

One would think Morris' experience and talent give him an edge, but as camp and the first few games of the season shake out, we'll get more clarity.

Slot Wide Receiver

 

Sep 25, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Tyrin Taylor (28) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton (6) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Like right tackle, slot wide receiver looks like a spot where the Sooners have some really good options. With Marvin Mims and Theo Wease on the outside, who plays inside is up for grabs.

While many projections put Drake Stoops into the starting lineup, Arizona State transfer LV Bunkley-Shelton has the experience and production at the SEC level to make a serious play to start. Though not as experienced in the slot, Missouri transfer J.J. Hester and sophomore Jalil Farooq could also push for snaps in Oklahoma's offense.

With as many snaps as Jeff Lebby wants to run, it's vital to have options on the depth chart you can go to, and in the slot, the Sooners have several options.

EDGE

 

Oct. 16, 2021; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Reggie Grimes (14) in action during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Gone are Nik Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas, opening up more than 1,000 snaps to be seized in the 2022 season.

The Sooners have a strong trio of edge rushers in Reggie Grimes, Marcus Stripling, and Ethan Downs. Throw in Hawaii transfer Jonah Laulu, and Oklahoma's depth chart looks nice.

In 2021, Grimes, Stripling, and Downs played a combined 704 snaps between them. Don't let the minimal snap counts fool you, though, this is a talented bunch of players, as we saw in the Alamo Bowl and the Spring game.

Each of these guys may see multiple starts in 2022 depending on the matchup and the opening alignment that the defense is in, but regardless, the trio will get the opportunity to make a significant impact for the Sooners.

The top three edge players in snap distribution for the Clemson Tigers each saw more than 341 snaps last season. Grimes, who was third among edge rushers in snaps played, was on the field for 304 snaps in 2021.

Linebacker

 

Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker David Ugwoegbu (2) reacts during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Another spot where the Sooners have quite a few options is at linebacker. Brian Asamoah is off to the NFL, leaving DaShaun White, David Ugwoegbu, Danny Stutsman, and T.D. Roof to compete for snaps on the Oklahoma defense.

White's experience gives him an edge to play the weakside linebacker spot while Ugwoegbu and Stutsman look to be competing for snaps at middle linebacker.

Safety

 

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Justin Broiles (25) during the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State Cowboys won 37-33. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Key Lawrence will likely one of your starting safeties in 2022. With Pat Fields off to Stanford and Delarrin Turner-Yell with the Denver Broncos, an opportunity has arisen for senior Justin Broiles and sophomore Billy Bowman.

Broiles played the second-most defensive snaps in 2021 behind only Patrick Fields. Broiles could ultimately end up as the slot cornerback, where he played more than half of his snaps in 2021.

Things were a bit up and down for him early in the season, but he settled in and played better down the stretch. Against Oklahoma State, he allowed just one reception on four targets for seven yards and added a pass break up. Against Oregon, he played just seven snaps, was targeted once, and didn't allow a reception.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire

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