What did we think/hope would happen?
Senior defensive tackles Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker and Stacey McGee would finally play up to their potential and give Oklahoma consistency up front on defense. OU would be able to work young DTs Jordan Phillips, Marquis Anderson, and Torrea Peterson into the rotation to get them ready for 2013.
What did happen?
McGee got suspended and wouldn't play until Notre Dame game. He really made very little impact on the season, because he wasn't in game shape.
Walker missed OU's first two games and wasn't really a factor until the Texas Tech and Texas games. Actually, he wasn't a real factor in most games after those two, either.
McFarland probably had the most consistent season. Overall, he notched 6 TFLs and 3 sacks. He also made key stops late in the season in close wins against OSU and TCU.
With the seniors struggling, OU gave Jordan Phillips more and more playing time. In fact, for most of November, Phillips was probably playing the best at DT when he was in the game.
Unfortunately, after some encouraging play early, Anderson got suspended and we never saw him again. He was reinstated by the end of the year. Likewise, Peterson started the year suspended, and while he did get reinstated, he never really saw the field.
What went right?
*Phillips showed enough in spurts to think that he can be factor at DT next year.
*At times, the DTs did a good job providing an inside pass rush.
What went wrong?
*The suspensions never allowed the three-senior DT rotation to get going and derailed attempts to build depth.
*When OU was spread out by teams, the inside tackles were routinely gashed for big yards in the running game. They weren't beating one-on-one blocking and making tackles. At times, the DTs weren't even keeping offensive linemen off of the linebackers, leading to even bigger plays. Combined with poor run defense by the defensive ends, it left OU exposed. (LB issues also playing a big role.)
*OU was unable to get any other DTs ready for next year to any meaningful degree.
*Where do we go from here?
*Seriously, how can OU fans expect the DT spot to be improved next year with three graduating seniors who have soaked up all the reps in the last three seasons?
*On the bright side, Jordan Phillips' potential is sky high. He could take the great leap forward that OU saw from Gerald McCoy in 2008 and Demarcus Granger in 2007 as redshirt sophomores. But after that...
*OU should have at least one JUCO DT in place for spring ball. Right now, OU has no JUCO DTs verbally committed. The high-school DTs being recruited by OU don't look ready to contribute next year, either.
*Marquis Anderson, who actually looked good in limited reps, may be in danger of being out of Norman. Torrea Peterson also was suspended this season and hasn't shown much in three years in the program. Damon Williams hasn't left bench and may be a bust. (Williams looks like a serious transfer candidate.)
*Jordan Wade is redshirting, so we have no idea what he might bring to the table. Great potential at DT, but he hasn't played in two seasons.