NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners defensive line heard the chatter.
Oklahoma's not strong enough, Oklahoma's not physical enough, Oklahoma can't hold up against tough running games.
Entering Saturday's Red River Rivalry game against Texas, the questions about OU's defensive interior, nationally and locally, put the line in the spotlight.
"People saying we don't have guys like GK [Gerald McCoy], Frank [Alexander], Jeremy Beal, Auston English," defensive end R.J. Washington said. "They've been talking about me, Casey [Walker] and J-Mac [Jamarkus McFarland]. They always say Casey is too short, and I never make plays, David [King] never makes plays.
"For two years, they've been talking about us and what we were going to do and having 'down' years because we're the weak spot."
Then the Sooners coaching staff pushed things to another level.
"The coaches posted two pieces of paper in the locker room [that said] their quarterback [David Ash] said he goes against the best defensive line at practice," Walker said. "That added to the fire."
In OU's 63-21 win over the Longhorns, it was pretty clear the Sooners defensive front had heard enough.
"I think we were just mad," Washington said.
Texas finished the first half with two yards rushing (on 10 carries) and had gained just two first downs. Longhorn freshman Johnathan Gray walked into the locker room as UT's leading rusher with five carries for eight yards (1.6 ypc).
"They were talking about they weren't worried because they see a better defense in practice," Washington said. "We were just like, 'All right, we'll prepare and see who shows up on Saturday.' I feel like we showed up."
King, Walker, Washington and McFarland were a key reason why Texas started the game with four straight three-and-outs and finished the game with seven total three-and-outs out of 16 possessions.
"Those guys are better than people give them credit for," cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "Now people are starting to notice what they can do."
"It feels great anytime you dominate somebody," Washington said. "But anytime you can prove somebody wrong it adds extra to a victory."
"We took notice that they have these two NFL defensive ends," King said. "We wanted to show everybody, 'Hey, our D-Line can play too,' and that's what we did on Saturday. We dominated the line with this guy here [points toward Walker]."
The win was particularly sweet for Walker, who had a message for Ash after his alleged words about OU's defensive front.
"'We're going to see what D-Line is better.' ... I'll let [Ash] make that call," Walker said with a smile.