Oklahoma leans on O-line depth

Sooners will rely on nearly a dozen capable bulldozers this season

A few of Oklahoma’s offensive linemen are potential All-Americans.

Others are masters of versatility, able to play up to three positions in the trenches.

The list of capable players is long though. Tyrus Thompson. Daryl Williams. Dionte Savage. Ty Darlington. Adam Shead. Tyler Evans. Nila Kasitati.

And that’s just the start.

The strength of the Sooners’ offense will be up front this year. And they are swimming in the deep end of the pool.

“When we’re healthy, we have more depth than we’ve had in a long time,” co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “We have more depth, especially on the interior, than we’ve had in a long time. All those guys have an ability to play at a high level. They’ve all shown that.”

Heupel said that the main goal is to keep the big guys healthy. There will be a lot more rotating – because of skill and rest – during games this season.

Thompson and Williams are bookends on either side, and Shead and Evans have worked their way back into the fold. Both see a chance to compete for a starting job.

“You’ve gotta get the job done,” Shead said. “One thing I always knew about Coach B is that he’s going to play the best. There’s definitely that pressure there to get back and get going. I have to get going. There’s no time to waste. It’s my last year.”

Dionte Savage has practiced with the 1s are left guard but still rotates into right guard with the top unit.

“The O-line is doing a lot better, we’re getting better,” he said. “We’re more physical as a whole group. I feel like we’re coming together a lot better.”

The lingering problem of having a shallow offensive line depth chart, something that has been a problem since Shead came to campus, is a thing of the past.

Neither Savage nor Heupel ventured a guess as to how many players could see action in the trenches, although Heupel said that in a perfect world all 15 scholarshiped linemen would be ready to play.

That’s not the world we live in, but the actual number of capable offensive linemen is closer to 15 than it is to five.

“We feel good about the guys who finished out last year,” Heupel said. “We feel good about the guys who are coming off an injury. Now, it’s just maintaining that and keeping the guys healthy throughout the year.”

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories