The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

November 15, 2012

Offensive line has rolled with the punches

NORMAN — While Blake Bell was sprinting 55 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown last Saturday, Oklahoma was a having a hard time celebrating the game-winning touchdown against Baylor.

Guard Adam Shead was struggling to get to his feet. Another offensive lineman was down. Shead was OK. He’s expected to play when the 13th-ranked Sooners face West Virginia on Saturday.

However, it’s been that kind of season for the offensive line, and it’s not going to get any easier.

“At this point in time, you know what the deal is. It’s a physical position the guys play. They’re going to get banged up and none of them feel 100 percent,” centers and guards coach James Patton said. “I bet there isn’t a lineman in the country right now that feels 100 percent. There’s things they can’t control. Guys rolling on their legs, they have to move their feet faster and that’ll take care of some things. Some of the things they can control. They’re hitting people on every play. There’s confrontations. There’s physical confrontations. At this point in time they’ve got to be tough guys.”

Hard to argue that the Sooners haven’t lived up to that label. The group has been taking a pounding all season, but keeps answering the bell every Saturday.

Last Saturday’s victory over Baylor was another example. Center Gabe Ikard was out with a concussion. True freshman Ty Darlington stepped in and they pushed and shoved their way to 460 total yards.

Then they ambled their way back to the locker room to get treatment so they could do it all again next week. Handling the aches and the pains is something that either becomes second nature or you go find something else to do.

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