The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 24, 2009

The demise of the Sooner line may have been greatly exaggerated

• Wilson believes Trent Williams is the best lineman he’s ever coached at Oklahoma

NORMAN — Usually it takes a few games for a player or a group of players to come under fire. Oklahoma’s offensive line didn’t even get to collect its equipment for the upcoming season before going under the microscope.

Some went so far as to call the group the plague that would bring the Sooners down this season.

“We’ve all heard it,” left guard Brian Simmons said. “It’s all motivation.”

It’s going to be harder to find a group of five men with a bigger chip on their shoulder this season than OU’s offensive line. What’s often forgotten is the group isn’t anywhere near as raw as some seem to believe.

At left tackle, Trent Williams is back for his senior year. Outside of Sam Bradford, his decision to stay in college could have the biggest impact on the Sooners this season.

He was an All-Big 12 performer at right tackle last season. He’ll move to the left side this season to protect the quarterback’s blind side. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson has gone to the wall in praising Williams.

“The best lineman that I’ve had since I’ve been here — and I had two former players [Jammal Brown and Davin Joseph] that walked out in this game called the Pro Bowl last year that were first-round picks — (but) the best lineman I’ve ever coached is (No.) 71, and it’s not close,” Wilson said.

But the Sooners are still replacing four starters. Also true, OU actually had as many as six starters last season. Simmons alternated at both guard spots over the last two seasons and started four games during the period.

“I’ve played a lot of games,” Simmons said. “I guess people either forget that or don’t acknowledge it.”

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