The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 29, 2013

Sooners’ offensive line in much better shape than same time last season

NORMAN — It’s rare to see Oklahoma guard Adam Shead walking without favoring a leg. Shead, now a junior, battled knee, ankle and back injuries throughout his career. Walking, at times, seemed like a tough task.

“It was at the end of the year and we didn’t have any depth,” Shead recalled. “I was just trying to be there for my teammates the best I could.”

He wasn’t alone in that regard last season. By December, the Sooners’ offensive line looked a group destined for some long trips to physical therapy.

But that was eight months ago. The human body can do incredible things if given the time to do so. Shead said Tuesday night he’s as healthy as he’s ever been. It’s something most of OU’s offensive linemen have been saying throughout August.

As far as the offensive line is concerned, the Sooners enter Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Monroe a much different team than when they last played.

OU coach Bob Stoops admitted he’s seen a spring in the group’s step that was missing last season. It was a season where injuries started piling up from the first day of practice. Practice became more about getting through the day than getting better.

The last month has been different.

“The blocks are a little better but we’re still doing all the same things,” he said. “I feel like they’re doing things really well. Hopefully it shows Saturday.”

The play of the offensive line tends to get magnified when things are going well. But everything gets more scrutiny when a redshirt freshman quarterback, Trevor Knight, takes his first snap and is expected to lead OU to its first win of the season.

“We just know it’s on us to make that person comfortable so that’s what we’re about,” center Gabe Ikard said.

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