2. Oklahoma football preseason questions: Will the defense be able to continue improving?
In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Oklahoma lived and died by their offense. That was never more evident than in the College Football Playoff losses when the Sooners were able to put up points but the defense wasn’t able to come up with enough stops. Those issues led to Oklahoma adding Alex Grinch heading into last season as the new defensive coordinator and he undeniably made a positive impact.
Yes, Oklahoma was still 64th in the country in terms of points allowed per game — but that’s actually a drastic improvement from 2018 when they ranked 101st (out of 130) in that same category. At the same time, there is still plenty of room to get better, which is a distinct possibility in the second year with Grinch in the building.
Though the Sooners are losing possibly their two biggest leaders from last season, Kenneth Murray and Parnell Motley, the other nine starters from last year’s defense are back. Tre Brown and Pat Fields should be leaders in the secondary and we’ve already talked about the linebackers. The big key, however, might be getting real pop from the entirety of the front seven.
If Ronnie Perkins is on the field, he has the potential to be a star as a pass-rusher. Furthermore, there are a slew of other younger players who saw snaps last season that can come in and contribute in that department as well. If they can get pressure and clog things up in the trenches, Oklahoma has the opportunity to take another step forward defensively, which would be a huge help in getting over the CFP hump.