May 11, 2006

Spring Grades: LBs

SoonerScoop.com will close out the spring by taking a look at each of the positions on the Sooner football team over the next two weeks. Outside of defensive end, the linebacker position appeared to be a major area of strength for Brent Venables heading into the spring. With Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer returning as starters for the 2006 season, the strongside linebacker position was the only position which needed a new face.

Demarrio Pleasant was expected to step in and take over the starting position after logging plenty of time as Clint Ingram's backup over the last two seasons. Those plans took a slight hit as Pleasant missed several practices due to academic issues. The other factor hurting Pleasant's introduction into the starting lineup was the impressive play of sophomore Ryan Reynolds.

But Pleasant appears to have his classwork under control heading into the summer and Reynolds suffered a major knee injury during voluntary workouts just days after spring practices ended.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

The OU defense wasn't exactly able to become a cohesive starting unit over the spring due to offseason shoulder surgery to Zach Latimer which sidelined him for all 15 spring practices. Rufus Alexander also played sparingly during scrimmage situations because he simply didn't have a lot to prove.

Pleasant did end up receiving a lot of work when all practices were added up. And even before Reynolds suffered his injury, it can be argued Pleasant out-performed the talented sophomore.


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