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Carter Clark asks, will Oklahoma stop running the 3-4 defense after this stellar defensive recruiting class?
The short answer: no.
What Oklahoma wants to do is be able to run both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defensive scheme. This isn’t the NFL, where teams are limited to 46 available players on Sunday. The numbers are not an issue. Teams can run both.
It depends on the opponent. The shift to the 3-4 alignment heading into the 2013 season was due to the spread offenses. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops feels like it gets more speed on the field and allows them to match up better. But a lack of defensive line depth factored into the change, too.
The Sooners’ defensive line depth improved in recent seasons and the 2018 class, which features Ronnie Perkins, Michael Thompson, Ron Tatum and Jordan Kelly, gives them the option of running a four-man front.
But there are also players like Addison Gumbs and Jalen Redmond on the roster. They’re listed at defensive ends and can play in a three-point stance. They can also play outside linebacker.
One thing that is interesting is the hiring of Bob Diaco as a defensive analyst. One of the biggest influences on Oklahoma moving to a 3-4 scheme was the Notre Dame game in 2012. Diaco was Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator and that unit was one of the best the Sooners have faced in the last decade. It shut down Oklahoma’s spread offense.
Expect Oklahoma to employ both schemes this season. Against spread teams, expect to see a 3-4. Against pro-style offenses, there will likely be four defensive linemen.
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