Oklahoma football: 5 questions the Oklahoma Sooners must answer in 2020

Charleston Rambo, Oklahoma football (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Charleston Rambo, Oklahoma football (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Oklahoma football
Oklahoma football (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

4. Oklahoma football preseason questions: Who steps up to replace Murray at linebacker?

There are undoubtedly parts of the 2019 Oklahoma defense that you could pick apart and we’re most definitely going to get to that. However, the one spot where you could never doubt what was happening was at linebacker. Kenneth Murray was an unquestioned star in the middle of the Sooners defense, leading the way on that side of the ball for two seasons.

Related Story. 5 best seasons in Oklahoma football history. light

For his final act in Norman, Murray lit up the stat sheet. He registered a team-high 102 total tackles and 17.0 tackles for loss while also tying for third on the team with 4.0 sacks. He lined up all over the field and was effective against the run, as a blitzer and when dropping into coverage. But now he’s on the Los Angeles Chargers, which is an issue for Oklahoma.

As far as replacing him goes, there isn’t a one-for-one replacement for what Murray did on the 2020 roster. DaShaun White, who finished fourth on the Sooners in tackles last year, will likely man his spot and maybe take over as the defensive quarterback but he’s not as talented of a player. Subsequently, it may take a platoon effort in the middle of the defense to help survive the loss of Murray.

Perhaps the biggest coup for the Sooners will be having Caleb Kelly fully back in the fold. He was supposed to pair with Murray last season to form a dynamic linebacker duo. But if he can emerge as a star as he returns following missing substantial time with injuries last season and be the leader between him and White, losing Murray may not be as much of a blow as it otherwise could’ve been.