The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 24, 2010

Sooner O-line returns healthier, more experienced, focused on consistency

NORMAN — No group took more knocks than Oklahoma’s offensive line last season. Those knocks caused a flood of injuries at nearly every position. They also put the group in the crosshairs of pundits throughout college football.

To most, OU’s uncharacteristic 8-5 season was pinned on the inconsistent play of the offensive line.

The Sooners heard all of them last season and have taken them to heart in the seven months since.

“We set big goals every year, and this year I feel like we’re really on top of everything,” left guard Stephen Good said.

The goal for the Sooner offensive line is to become a cohesive unit in 2010. It sounds easy, the offensive lines from 2007-08 made it look that way. They were able to basically well out the same five on a game-by-game basis for two straight seasons. Last year, OU wasn’t able to start the same combination more than two games in a row.

But health hasn’t been an issue in the preseason and it has allowed for that bond to take hold.

“It’s important to get those five guys up there so we can start working together and getting comfortable with how each of us blocks,” center Ben Habern said. “And that’s where we’re at right now, we have a set five and so now we’re starting to work together as one unit.”

Habern and Good are two of six starters in the two deep with starting experience. Even if it came in the chaos of last season, it should be greatly beneficial this year.

The Sooners set a starting five heading into the preseason with Habern and Good being joined by sophomore guard Tyler Evans, junior left tackle Donald Stephenson and senior right tackle Eric Mensik.

Evans fought injuries but played in 12 games as freshman. The center and two guard spots are holdovers from last season. It’s the two tackle spots where intrigue comes into play.

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