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Bob Stoops expects DT Jordan Phillips to play against Texas

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips should be back in the lineup against Texas after missing last week's game due to an unspecified injury.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops told reporters on Wednesday that Phillips is expected to return to practice and should be ready for the Red River Rivalry on Saturday.

"He's gotten better," Stoops said via The Oklahoman. "So, we're expecting him to play and hopefully practice some more here tomorrow. He's making some improvement."

The play of Oklahoma's young defense has helped the Sooners jump out to a 5-0 start and move up to No. 12 in the AP poll. Phillips was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Jordan Wade, one of several defensive lineman drawing praise from Stoops this week.

"Those guys have made significant improvement," Stoops said of Wade and fellow defensive tackle Torrea Peterson. "Chuka [Ndulue] can play in there too some if need be, so you know, those guys are rotating really pretty well in there."

The Sooners enter Saturday's rivalry game as heavy favorites, with a spread that has moved to 14 points at some sportbooks. There is an expectation that Oklahoma's rushing attack, second only to Baylor in the Big 12 with 5.32 yards per carry, will overpower Texas' run defense, ranked dead last in the Big 12 and No. 110 nationally giving up 5.11 yards per carry.

But regardless of the final margin, the game should be a good indicator of Oklahoma's defense. The Longhorns are the most talented offensive unit the Sooners have faced this season, even if that has not been reflected on the field in 2013. If Oklahoma is going to contend for the Big 12 title, this young and markedly improved defense will need to live up to the billing.

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