Bedenbaugh bringing fresh look to OU

OU is looking to return to its old ways of thinking at the offensive line and Bill Bedenbaugh is just the guy to get it done.

Everybody has noticed one thing when it comes to Oklahoma's offensive line under first-year coach Bill Bedenbaugh. He's bringing the physicality back.

The old school philosophy and toughness of years past seems to be back with the Sooners. Part of that was Bedenbaugh letting his players eat all summer and gain weight. Most are bigger and stronger than they've ever been before.

But all that strength doesn't mean anything without execution. And though not as touted, that might be the biggest difference with this year's offensive line.

"He's on us all the time about our technique — where our hands are, out feet, our alignment, where our eyes are," center Gabe Ikard said. "That's one of the biggest things I've noticed. He's very big on putting your eyes in the right spot.

"He's a really good coach, and we've really learned a lot so far, but the biggest impact he's had is on having the O-line recognize defense and recognize blitzes."

Bedenbaugh is known for his intensity, but he has brought the intensity in different ways. One of those ways is with his teaching technique that has led to an overall intelligence the group felt it didn't have before.

"We're a lot better technically," sophomore Ty Darlington said. "We're a much smarter offensive line than in the past. There are subtle technique changes and everything is working."

Could this group be a smarter bunch because they're all on the same page? In years past the offensive line was split up among James Patton and Bruce Kittle. Patton handled the guards and centers, while Kittle was the guy for tackles and tight ends.

Stoops dismissed that notion a couple of weeks ago, saying the offensive line was a cohesive group last year. He felt the multiple coaches wasn't an issue.

Senior guard Bronson Irwin, however, had a different view point and expressed happiness with only having one offensive line coach.

"It's different. I like it better," Irwin said. "Having the whole group in the same meeting room all the time, I think, is very beneficial compared to being split up part-time. It's just more of a unit feel, more established as one group of five guys."

Bedenbaugh also has the benefit of having a healthy group of linemen. Depth at the line was one of the biggest concerns throughout 2012. The opposite is true for this season.

Young guys are a year more mature and experienced. OU dipped in the waters to add three junior college prospects that are ready to roll immediately.

Every button pushed so far by Bedenbaugh has been the right one. The preparation has the Sooners poised for success no matter how the quarterback situation shakes out. It's only a matter of time before we all find out just how good of a job Bedenbaugh has done in his short time at OU.

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