There are certain traditions at Oklahoma, and left tackle is definitely one of those positions. It goes beyond the recent success of Daryl Williams (right) and Tyrus Thompson (left) at their respective tackle spot.
Senior tackle Josiah St. John knows this. He understands it, and he is trying to make sure he is the next name added to that tackle list for the Sooners.
“Left tackle is a tradition here,” St. John said. “I don’t want to be the one that drops the ball. I really do understand what this is all about.”
St. John, originally from Toronto, is in a much different spot than most of the other tackles. Those guys had time to grow into the position, physically and mentally.
There is no waiting for St. John. It has to happen now, he has no other choice. This is his senior year and his only shot. He has to make the make the best of it.
St. John was a top junior college recruit for the Sooners for the 2013 class. But because he didn’t get to Norman right when camp started, he fell behind and had to redshirt during the 2013 season.
Last year there was simply no room. Not with the play of Williams and Thompson, but St. John did learn a lot from both of the tackles selected in the NFL Draft in the spring.
“I got a better understanding of how starters prepare,” St. John said. “Watch a lot of film, tuned in during the walkthroughs, tuned in during meetings.”
The reality hit home following the bowl game. He said Thompson and Williams shook his hand and said they’re passing the torch to him.
The spring saw a change in attitude for St. John that has carried over into camp. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said St. John is a smarter player than he’s ever been before. And there’s another part of his game he’s trying to improve.
“I’m trying to lead more,” St. John said. “I’m not really that vocal of a person, but I’ve been doing it by setting a good example for the younger ones. I’ve been trying to go hard in practice and let the younger players know what’s expected of them and how to act at OU.”
OU’s offensive line isn’t young. Bob Stoops doesn’t like that term, but the group is inexperienced, especially at the tackle position.
St. John has been around college football for five years now. He has seen a lot of formations, a lot of defensive alignments. He knows how to respond in situations, but he’s eager to roll with OU’s offensive system that takes some of that part out of the game.
“I love the new system,” St. John said. “It’s quick, simple, not a lot of thinking. It’s a lot easier to know all the details because there aren’t a lot of details.”
But there is a lot of tradition, and St. John wants to keep that rolling in Norman.