NORMAN — It isn’t exactly a transitional spring for Oklahoma’s offensive line. There are returning starters at every position.
However, what happened in the past doesn’t seem to matter. If it did, OU coach Bob Stoops wouldn’t have made it in an offseason priority to bring in new offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
Whether it’s style or substance, the difference is in the eye of the beholder.
“There are subtle things, techniques, kind of different ways to rip our hands and roll our hips, stuff like that,” said center Gabe Ikard, who has been held out of most contact drills because of an injured right hand. “I love the stuff he is doing with us. We’re already showing improvement and just… looking good right now and making some good strides.”
Bedenbaugh doesn’t want to re-invent how the Sooners block. The kind of changes he’s trying to make are on the psychological level more than physical.
Schemes and techniques are essential, but there’s an ingredient that is hard to obtain.
“I just want to fit into the piece of the puzzle of getting this team to win a national championship. I’m just a part of it,” he said. “I think everybody works together. My mentality is about toughness. I’m big on fundamentals, I’m big on technique, but I think if you’re a tough person, tough-minded, physically tough, then you can overcome some of those things. You’re not always going to be as perfect as you want to be. You’ve got to get as close to it as you can, but I think your toughness overrides that a lot of times.”
Toughness and togetherness are the overriding themes for the Sooners’ offensive line this spring. In past years, the unit was broken up with centers and guards working under one position coach and tackles and tight ends working under another.