Sooners LB Brian Asamoah says 'we know what we're doing" now in the Speed D scheme
In years past, the Oklahoma defense hasn't given the fan base much to get excited about.
But Alex Grinch's arrival last year sparked a new narrative, and it's brought tangible change on an extremely accelerated timeline. Sooner Nation last week witnessed the program's first shutout since 2015, as Oklahoma blanked Missouri State 48-0.
Yet there are still plenty of questions to be answered as the Sooners begin conference play.
A workmanlike victory over an abysmal FCS team shouldn't be taken for more than it's worth. And with the graduation of Kenneth Murray to the NFL – the unquestioned quarterback of the defense and an emotional leader for the Sooners – there are enormous shoes to fill in the linebacker corps.
“Kenneth Murray, his last season, treated football like a pro," Brian Asamoah said this week. "He was at the facility at 4 a.m. watching film with coaches. That's one thing I learned from him. The film aspect is very important and that's what I believe he did a great job of, and also, after practice, you'll see Kenneth Murray in the locker room, on his iPad, watching film."
While Murray took the field for the first time as a professional football player over the weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, many Sooners made their first appearances in the starting lineup back in Norman, including Asamoah, who earned the nod at weakside linebacker. He saw sporadic playing time a year ago, but says he's become a far more cerebral player since he last touched the gridiron for Oklahoma.
“The mental aspect of playing linebacker is huge and that's what I believe I committed myself to doing," Asamoah said. "Trying to figure out what everybody up front is doing, what everybody in the back is doing and then also what my safeties and corners are doing on each specific play."
Asamoah says he plans to implement many habits his predecessors, including Murray, instilled in him.
“Me and DaShaun (White) have held a bunch of meetings just watching film on our own and that's something that's gonna carry on in the back room. We don't need Coach (Barry) Odom to watch the film because we know what we're doing and we know what everybody else is doing as well,” Asamoah said.
Asamoah accounted for seven total tackles against the Bears to lead the Sooners. The redshirt sophomore looks to have put the right gears in motion, and the initial performance by the new and improved linebacker unit has fostered anticipation for next week’s matchup against Kansas State.
The Wildcats torched the Sooners last year in a 48-41 upset victory in Manhattan, and Grinch's defense would seem eager for a shot at revenge when the teams meet again in Norman on Sept. 26.
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