Front four makes statement

OU defensive line answers its critics with a dominating performance against Texas

Updated: October 16, 2012, 12:56 AM ET
By Brandon Chatmon | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners defensive line heard the chatter.

Oklahoma's not strong enough, Oklahoma's not physical enough, Oklahoma can't hold up against tough running games.

[+] EnlargeDavid King
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesDefensive end David King and the Sooners flustered the Texas offense and held the Longhorns to just two first downs in the first half.
Entering Saturday's Red River Rivalry game against Texas, the questions about OU's defensive interior, nationally and locally, put the line in the spotlight.

"People saying we don't have guys like GK [Gerald McCoy], Frank [Alexander], Jeremy Beal, Auston English," defensive end R.J. Washington said. "They've been talking about me, Casey [Walker] and J-Mac [Jamarkus McFarland]. They always say Casey is too short, and I never make plays, David [King] never makes plays.

"For two years, they've been talking about us and what we were going to do and having 'down' years because we're the weak spot."

Then the Sooners coaching staff pushed things to another level.

"The coaches posted two pieces of paper in the locker room [that said] their quarterback [David Ash] said he goes against the best defensive line at practice," Walker said. "That added to the fire."

In OU's 63-21 win over the Longhorns, it was pretty clear the Sooners defensive front had heard enough.

"I think we were just mad," Washington said.

Texas finished the first half with two yards rushing (on 10 carries) and had gained just two first downs. Longhorn freshman Johnathan Gray walked into the locker room as UT's leading rusher with five carries for eight yards (1.6 ypc).

"They were talking about they weren't worried because they see a better defense in practice," Washington said. "We were just like, 'All right, we'll prepare and see who shows up on Saturday.' I feel like we showed up."

King, Walker, Washington and McFarland were a key reason why Texas started the game with four straight three-and-outs and finished the game with seven total three-and-outs out of 16 possessions.

"Those guys are better than people give them credit for," cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "Now people are starting to notice what they can do."

OU's dominance along the defensive line was one of the biggest surprises of the game.

"It feels great anytime you dominate somebody," Washington said. "But anytime you can prove somebody wrong it adds extra to a victory."

While everyone was talking about UT defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor, OU's defensive line was quietly planning to make a statement on its own. And it did on Saturday.

"We took notice that they have these two NFL defensive ends," King said. "We wanted to show everybody, 'Hey, our D-Line can play too,' and that's what we did on Saturday. We dominated the line with this guy here [points toward Walker]."

The win was particularly sweet for Walker, who had a message for Ash after his alleged words about OU's defensive front.

"'We're going to see what D-Line is better.' ... I'll let [Ash] make that call," Walker said with a smile.

Brandon Chatmon | email

Oklahoma/Big 12 reporter