“It’s been really important ever since last year,” right tackle Daryl Williams said. “Compared to last year, it’s way better, because last year, we just lost a guy here and then another guy. It was like a chain reaction, you know. But it’s really important. I’m glad we made it this far somewhat healthy, better than last year.”
Against Kansas State, the Sooners rolled up 472 yards on just 73 plays. The third-down conversion rate was 9 for 15 because OU rarely faced a third-and-long scenario.
Most importantly, the group has allowed the Sooners to transition from a passing team to a running team this season. The Sooners rushed for 301 yards in the victory over the Wildcats. With temperatures below freezing and gusty winds, the ability to run the ball was essential.
The forecast calls for similar elements next Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium against Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1).
“For the most part, with the exception of the Baylor game, we’ve played pretty well in the run game. It was a focus. We knew that it was going to be tough conditions coming in here cold. We knew we had to run the ball,” Bedenbaugh said.
But the solidarity will be tested this week. The week off to rest helps, but the status of Thompson and Shead are not givens.
The Sooners will have a better idea who’s in and who’s out Monday.
“For Tyrus to go down, obviously left tackle is an extremely important position. A guy goes down, you’ve got other good players and other talented guys to step in,” Ikard said. “No matter who we put at left or we have to shuffle guys around, we’ll get the job done.”
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