Sooners Wire looks at the current roster and writes profiles of each player. Next up is defensive end Ethan Downs.
Even though Isaiah Thomas and Nik Bonitto were no longer on the Sooners’ defense, there was a lot of excitement after the 2021 Alamo Bowl about what they still had.
When the Sooners played the Oregon Ducks, Ethan Downs, Reggie Grimes, and Marcus Stripling put on a show. This gave the Sooners hope for the future of their pass rush.
Ethan Downs and most of the defense got off to a good start by beating UTEP, Kent State, and Nebraska in games outside of the conference. In the first three games, he had 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Then, just like with the defense, there were some problems against the Big 12 during the middle of the schedule.
But that wasn’t what Ethan Downs’ season was all about. Downs only had one tackle for loss against Kansas State, TCU, and Texas, but he had two sacks and nine tackles for loss in the last six games of the Big 12 season. He also made 17 of his season’s 26 stops in that same time period.
A “stop” is what Pro Football Focus calls a play that ends in a loss.
Downs was on a roll, which is good news for his third year with the Sooners and his second year in Brent Venables’ defense. Coach of defensive ends Miguel Chavis agrees.
Chavis said this about his defensive end group: “It’s fun to see them come up with a new call or use the same words. The same words have been used for 15 months. It isn’t the first of the month. It is not the eighth month.
That’s why some of our guys got better as the season went on. We kept getting better, and they kept playing their asses off. They got better every week in the second half of the season.”
When you’re comfortable with something, you feel more confident. Now that Downs has been in the system for more than a year, he has a chance to build on the strong end to the 2022 season.
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