DALLAS – Last year, Oklahoma could make the statement that it was the best offensive line in the country, and there wouldn’t have been many that could have argued with it.
The statistics showed exactly that: The fewest sacks in the nation (.69 per game) and the tenth-most rushing yards. Only three teams averaged more than the Sooners’ 6.1 yards per carry.
None of that was unexpected. Oklahoma had two bookend tackles and four players in its rotation that are currently on NFL rosters. A bigger surprise would be Oklahoma repeating as the top offensive line in the Big 12 Conference – replacing seven seniors, three starters and changing offenses.
But that’s what center Ty Darlington, the only full-time returning starter from last year’s team, thinks they can do again.
“Anything less than being the best in the Big 12 isn’t going to be acceptable to coach Bedeanbaugh or to us. That’s the expectation of myself and Nila (Kasitati): We expected to be the best line in the Big 12, just like we were last year. . . .
“That’s something we take pride in.”
Measuring that will be tough, though. Because of the new pass-first offense, Oklahoma won’t finish with as many rushing yards and will allow more sacks – no matter who is starting.
Darlington said it’s not about everybody acknowledging them as the best line statistically.
“I think a lot of it is where you won’t be able to see it at all,” Darlington said. “It’s on film. Every week, we watch countless hours of tape on ourselves and then on the teams we’re playing. When we’re watching other defenses, we’re seeing all those offensive lines.
“I think we’ll know. It’s not about crowning us the best offensive line. I think we’ll know.”