Oklahoma fans were given a harsh dose of reality on college football's opening weekend last year. Dreams were dashed and hopes were stomped out. The man culprit? Oklahoma's offensive line. They couldn't protect quarterbacks or open running lanes and at the end of the night the Sooners were without their Heisman quarterback, consequently suffering two losses that night. Its no secret that if we're going to see an improvement in Oklahoma's offense this year it'll have to start up front.
Oklahoma Offensive Line Two-Deep
|Left Tackle||Left Guard||Center||Right Guard||Right Tackle|
|Donald Stephenson||Stephen Good||Ben Habern||Tyler Evans||Eric Mensik|
|Jarvis Jones||Bronson Irwin||Brian Lepak||Gabe Ikard||Josh Aladanove|
Across the first team you find experience and the dreaded potential. Donald Stephenson carries 309 pounds on his 6-6 frame. He didn't play last season but saw action in seven games in 2008 as a reserve. He has to be the anchor to the line because he'll be protecting Landry Jones' blindside. Standing next to Stephenson is Stephen Good (6-6/299) who played in all thirteen games for the Sooners last year at guard. He rotated from the left to right sides of the line and recorded 79 knockdowns for the season including 12 during the Kansas game. Ben Habern (6-3/292) centers the line and is coming back from an injury he suffered during the Texas Tech game that ended his season. Before the injury he 70 knockdowns.
The right side may not be as strong as the left (it never is) but that's not saying there isn't potential there. Tyler Evans is Oklahoma's biggest starting offensive lineman. He stands at 6-5 and weighs 316. He started four games for Oklahoma last year at right guard and played in 11 total games, recording 19 knockdowns. Eric Mensik (6-6/288) is the only senior starter on the line. He's a converted tight end who started the Bedlam game as well as the Sun Bowl.
Some of the reserves are interchangeable and will see time with the first team offense. Jarvis Jones was moved between the right guard and tackle spots last year before suffering a season ending injury at Nebraska. He recorded a total of 71 knockdowns. Brian Lepak started the Bedlam game last year in place of the injured Habern and recorded eight knockdowns.
Preliminary reports are that the offensive line is progressing fine and are ready to go. Of course we've never heard anything different in the pre-season. Despite the struggles in pass blocking last season they biggest disappointment with this group was their run blocking. They have to show more power in 2010 for Oklahoma to win the Big 12.