Ro­mar hopes to be freed up by new scheme

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

Matt Ro­mar’s ca­reer to this point has been solid but not over­whelm­ing.

The se­nior de­fen­sive line­man has 50 tack­les and 4.5 sacks over his first three sea­sons, but Ro­mar thinks Ok­la­homa’s new four-man de­fen­sive front could lead to more sta­tis­ti­cal pro­duc­tion.

“I’m so used to play­ing zero tech­nique, head up on the cen­ter, tak­ing on a lot of dou­ble and triple teams,” Ro­mar said. “I fi­nally got a chance to at­tack a per­son, ba­si­cally man on man every now and then. It’s not tak­ing on dou­ble teams. I’m just ex­cited to see how it’s go­ing to go.”

Kelly has high praise for Beal

Em­manuel Beal was Ok­la­homa’s second-lead­ing tack­ler a sea­son ago and the top re­turner.

But with the emer­gence of Caleb Kelly, the in­side line­backer bat­tler that ap­pears to have been won by Ken­neth Murray and with Og­bon­nia Oko­ronkwo’s pass-rush­ing on the edge get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion, Beal is some­times the over­looked man of the lineback­ing corps.

“I’d say he’s the most tech­ni­cally sound line­backer we have for sure,” Kelly said. “He has the best base. He can shuf­fle and stay in good body po­si­tion. He al­ways seems to be in good body po­si­tion.

“He’s a smaller guy, but that makes him faster. He’s not a weak guy ei­ther. He can hit those 300-pound guys. They aren’t push­ing him around. I re­ally re­spect his game.”

Ruf­fin’s Ram Sled

When Ruf­fin

McNeill ar­rived at Ok­la­homa in June, he took a sur­vey of all the equip­ment avail­able to work with the de­fen­sive line. OU had all of the nor­mal gad­gets and ma­chines, but there was one more that McNeill knew he’d need. A Ram sled. It’s a prim­i­tivelook­ing mech­a­nism, made of wood and shaped like some­thing re­sem­bling a bench.

“Ain’t noth­ing fancy about the wood,” McNeill said. “I can make them have out of body ex­pe­ri­ences on that. Their spirit will come out of their bod­ies be­cause I can work them.”

It may not look su­per im­pres­sive, but it’s more than ef­fec­tive.

“It’s a great tool to teach pad lever­age, hand place­ment, un­der­stand­ing the value of pres­sure, work­ing foot­work and keep­ing bal­ance,” McNeill said. “That one wood sled, I can in­cor­po­rate all of that.”

After a cou­ple weeks learn­ing tech­niques in McNeill’s old-fash­ioned way, the play­ers are un­der­stand­ing the value of the sled.

Soon­ers land three-star safety

OU added another com­mit­ment to its 2018 class Satur­day when three-star safety Dar­nell Turner-Yell an­nounced his com­mit­ment to the Soon­ers.

Turner-Yell (5-foot-10,

160 pounds) had of­fers that in­cluded Ne­braska, Bay­lor, Hous­ton and Mis­souri among oth­ers.

The Hemp­stead, Texas, prod­uct is Ok­la­homa’s

18th com­mit­ment from the class and the third safety, join­ing Cy­press (Texas)’ Star­rland Bald­win and Tulsa Union’s Pa­trick Fields.

Turner-Yell is the fifth com­mit among the re­cruits who vis­ited Nor­man for the re­cent ChampU bar­be­cue re­cruit­ing event. He joins 2018 re­cruits Jalen Red­mond and Dar­rell Simp­son, 2019 re­cruit Jef­fery Carter and 2020’s Jase McClel­lan.

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