OU O-line depth still a year away

Sooners' OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh's "guys" are ready to make an impact

Going into his third year at Oklahoma, Bill Bedenbaugh has made his mark on the recruiting trail for the Sooners – continually finding players where few others look.

They’ll start proving their worth on the field because they don’t have much of a choice. Three of Oklahoma’s starting offensive linemen were recruited by Bedenbaugh. Of the 17 linemen on the roster, only five weren’t hand-picked by Bedenbaugh in the past three years.

That makes the Sooners depth in the trenches unproven.

“We’re still developing depth,” said Oklahoma center Ty Darlington, who is one of three seniors on the roster compared to nine true or redshirt freshmen. “In the next couple years after this, the depth if going to be incredible because of all the young guys coach Bedenbaugh has brought in. . . . You’re going to start seeing those guys develop more and more. That’s why we’re still in the process of developing depth.”

Unlike last year and maybe next year, Oklahoma can’t afford to lose an offensive lineman this season.

There are two fifth-year linemen, two fourth-year guys and just one third-year player on the roster. Everybody else, outside of junior college transfers, is closer to their high school graduation than earning their college diploma.

Junior college transfers like Josiah St. John, who will start at right tackle, Jamal Danley, who will be in the rotation on the inside and Quinn Mittermeier have helped the transition. It’s the home-grown talent that will provide long-term depth – and long-term starters.

Players like Orlando Brown, Dru Samia and Jonathan Alvarez have a chance to be three-year starters and show Bedenbaugh’s true impact on the Oklahoma offensive line.

“We’re almost there,” Darlington said. “A lot of guys have got to continue to improve. But going forward after this we’ll be very deep. Whereas right now we’re sort of trying to find that depth.”

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