Oklahoma Sooners Spring Football Preview | The Offensive Line

USA TODAY Sports

Junior Ty Darlington steps into the starting role at center for Oklahoma this season

The Sooners said goodbye to the anchor of their offensive line at the end of the 2013 season as center Gabe Ikard (50 collegiate starts) walked off the field for the last time following Oklahoma's 45-31 upset win over #3 Alabama. Replacing Ikard is job one for the Sooners this spring, as the rest of the offensive line basically returns intact.

Returning Starters

Senior Tackle Daryl Williams (6-6/332) - Started all thirteen games in 2013, twelve at right tackle and one (Sugar Bowl) at left, and was named as a second team All Conference selection by the Big Twelve coaches.

Senior Tackle Tyrus Thompson (6-5/320) - Started in eleven of Oklahoma's thirteen games of 2013 at left tackle. Missed Bedlam and the Sugar Bowl due to injury.

Senior Guard Adam Shead (6-4/318) - Started in ten games in 2013 at left guard before suffering a back injury that sidelined him for Kansas State, Bedlam and the Sugar Bowl.

Junior Guard Nila Kasitati (6-4/319) - Played in all thirteen games of 2013 with seven starts.

The Focus Point

Junior Center Ty Darlington (6-2/298) - Darlington will step in at center to replace Ikard and will use the spring to gel with the rest of the returning starters. He has one career start under his belt (Baylor 2012) and also appeared in three games last fall.

Names To Watch

Injuries are a part of the game of football, especially for the guys battling in the trenches, and the Sooners could be looking to fill holes in the starting roster at any given moment. Here are some names to keep an eye on this spring.

Junior Tackle Derek Farniok (6-9/335) - Played in four games in 2013, including a start in the Bedlam game, and will most likely be the first player off the bench should Thompson or Williams not be able to go.

Senior Tackle Josiah St. John (6-6/284) - Not as big as the other tackle options but will get a strong look this spring as the Sooners look to build their depth at the tackle position.

Senior Guard Tyler Evans (6-5/331) - After suffering season ending knee injuries in back-to-back years how can you not be pulling for this kid to get back out onto the field?

Senior Guard Dionte Savage (6-4/339) - Made the first start of his career against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, but also saw action in eleven other games in 2013. With question marks surrounding the health of Adam Shead, Savage will be a guy who will be in the spotlight this spring.

Synopsis - On the surface you'd think that the Sooners are sitting pretty with four returning starters on the line and multiple backups with starting experience. However, Oklahoma fans know all too well how quickly the injury bug can strike the guys up front. Because of this, the spring will be spent focusing primarily on building depth along the line and seeing young guys prepped for battle.

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