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OU football: What Tre Norwood's season-ending injury means for Sooners defense

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Norwood and Brown

Sophomore cornerback Tre Norwood and sophomore cornerback Tre Brown celebrate an interception during the Big 12 Championship game against Texas Dec. 1.

Junior defensive back Tre Norwood will miss the 2019 season due to injury, coach Lincoln Riley announced Friday afternoon. 

Norwood, who started 19 games the last two years, was expected to play a key role in the Sooners secondary this season. So where does OU and new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch go from here?

The first place to look is at sophomore Brendan 'Bookie' Radley-Hiles. Norwood was competing for a starting spot at nearly every position in the secondary — cornerback, nickelback, safety — but was considered one of the favorites to start at nickel. Now, with Norwood's injury, Oklahoma will likely turn to Radley-Hiles who played in 13 games last season and started 11 at safety. 

A former five-star recruit out of IMG Academy, Radley-Hiles showed flashes of talent last year but took a dip toward the end of the season. He totaled 39 tackles and five pass break-ups. 

Another name to watch is redshirt sophomore Justin Broiles. An Oklahoma City native, Broiles played some nickel last year for the Sooners, starting five games. He tallied 24 tackles and two pass break-ups. 

Other guys that could help fill that void, according to Riley, are true freshmen Jeremiah Criddell and redshirt senior Chanse Sylvie — but both have mostly been working at safety. 

Whoever fills Norwood's spot will need to grow up quickly as the Sooners first game of the season is in just 22 days. Oklahoma will face Houston Sunday, Sept. 1, at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore. I've covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past two years. I have been the sports editor since spring 2018.

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