Pointing out Darlington and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, the true sophomore offensive lineman, who has been a utility interior man, understands the offense and blocking schemes in a way he couldn’t have learned by himself.
He’s also ready to be a starter on the Oklahoma offensive line – at left guard right next to Darlington.
“This year, I feel I’m doing pretty good,” said Alvarez, who played in just one game last season – mop-up duty against Louisiana Tech. “I’m fighting for that guard spot. I’m trying to solidify myself there and prove that I deserve that spot.”
Coming out of camp, Alvarez seems to be leading the race for that spot.
Alvarez backed up Darlington last season and played on the right side during spring practice when starter Nila Kasitati missed time. Now, he’s on the left side and playing well in an exclusive environment.
“He’s improved tremendously,” Darlington said. “He’s going to be a great player here. Don’t tell him I said that. Don’t tell coach Bedenbaugh that for sure because coach Bedenbaugh is hard on him. He’s hard on all of us.
“(Alvarez) really has done a good job through camp so far. We’re starting to see everything come together with who the guys are going to be.”
Alvarez said that the offensive line doesn’t rotate much on a daily basis in practice, but he knows that Bedenbaugh is always going to play the best five. No job is safe – and no job is ever really one. That’s keeping Alvarez motivated.
“Coach Bedenbaugh always tells us, it doesn’t matter if you’re older or a freshman or anything,” Alvarez said. “He’s going to put the best five in and that’s who’s going to play. That’s always in the back of your mind. I can’t mess up. I can’t do this. I know someone is back there gnawing at my heels to get that spot.”