The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

December 31, 2013

Sooners still shuffling

NEW ORLEANS —  The injuries to the left side of Oklahoma’s offensive line were a factor late in the season. Left guard Adam Shead and left tackle Tyrus Thompson have been out of the lineup since November, and neither will play against Alabama on Thursday in the Sugar Bowl.

How the Sooners cope with their absences appears to have changed. One of the options they’ve toyed with in the prep time since the regular season ended was moving Bronson Irwin from guard to right tackle and moving Daryl Williams from right tackle to left tackle.

No players would officially confirm what OU’s offensive line master plan is for the Sugar Bowl, but center Gabe Ikard confirmed the experimenting Monday.

“The three weeks of bowl practice has been good for us. Got a lot of guys good reps at different spots and shuffled people around and experimented with some lineups,” he said. “(Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and offensive graduate assistant Jon Cooper) have been able to weigh their options and see which option they like the best.”

Sophomore Derek Farniok started in place of Thompson against Oklahoma State Dec. 7.

Enjoying the competition: One of the reasons the Sooners have been able to reach the Sugar Bowl is Blake Bell and Trevor Knight have been able to handle the seesawing quarterback competition without creating an acrimonious relationship. In fact, the two are roommates for the Sugar Bowl trip.

“It’s been great. The thing that Coach Heup (Josh Heupel) has told us this year is you never know when you are going to be ready. You never know when you have to go in. We have a great relationship. We room on the road together. We look at it as a family deal and we’re excited to play with each other.”

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