Mensik started the final two games of the 2009 season after being moved over from tight end late in the year. The talent he showed then convinced the coaching staff he could make the move full-time. Mensik put on 40 pounds in the offseason and has been able to stay in the 285-pound range, even with the rigors of preseason camp.
“I’ve prepared well for this. I trimmed down and got muscle where I needed it and handled it in two-a-days,” Mensik said. “I think it’s going well.”
The left tackle spot is where OU has the biggest hole and the biggest hope. Trent Williams occupied the spot for nearly every game over the previous four years. It was one of the reasons he was a first-round draft pick.
The Sooners have nothing close to Williams in terms of experience. But they’re hoping they can get similar production from Stephenson.
Stephenson has the classic build for left tackle (6-foot-6, 309 pounds with long arms). But Stephenson didn’t play last season due to academic reasons and has never played in anything but a reserve role.
His teammates have faith that big things are coming from him.
“I think he’s starting to come into his own. I think he’s starting to accept his role and I think he knows that he can be a big part of this team this year at the left tackle,” Habern said. “It was good to see him show up at workouts all summer and working hard. I think he’s put on a little bit of weight, he’s gotten stronger and he’s kept his quickness up. It’s exciting because honestly he’s one of the most athletic lineman I’ve ever seen. He’s right up there with Trent Williams, athletic wise.”