A new man for the job?

NORMAN, Okla. — At the beginning of the day, the Sooners announced centers/guards coach James Patton was moving on to accept another coaching position with Kevin Wilson at Indiana; at the end of the day, it appears there's a major frontrunner for his replacement.

West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has emerged as the leading candidate, according to sources, though none have been able to confirm an official offer at this point.

He's expected to make more than $300,000 next year for the Mountaineers, meaning the Sooners would be competing with that—for reference, Patton made roughly $265,000 in his former position.

Even so, that doesn't figure to be an issue if he is the man of choice.

It has been rumored for quite some time that former Sooners play call and Kansas head coach Mark Mangino would fill in the position once Patton left, but that has cooled.

If head coach Bob Stoops does, in fact, go with Bedenbaugh, he'll be adding a guy who has coached at three different programs in the last decade plus.

A Texas Tech graduate, he worked as a graduate assistant then running backs and offensive line coach under former OU assistant Mike Leach.

His connections don't stop there with OU, as he worked with current defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and linebackers coach Tim Kish when they were all three at Arizona.

Bedenbaugh served as Arizona's offensive line/running game coordinator and then co-offensive coordinator under then-Wildcats head coach Stoops before heading to West Virginia to be offensive line coach.

Stay with Sooners Illustrated for all the latest on the assistant coaching search.

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