During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 68 – C Jonathan Alvarez (6-foot-3, 315 pounds)
What happened last year: Alvarez started 10 games and played in 12 last season after playing in just a small handful of plays as a true freshman two years ago. He earned the starting left guard spot and was one of the Sooners’ more consistent interior linemen all season. Alvarez also started at center, a position that he has been groomed for prior to this season.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 7. As the starting center in offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s attack, Alvarez holds a ton of importance beyond his physical skills. Breaking down defenses before the snap will be key, and former starter Ty Darlington was vital in helping to diagnose plays. Alvarez will be one of three returning offensive line, but he’ll be counted on to help Oklahoma’s two new starting guards learn the ropes quickly – they’ll need that leadership once Ohio State comes to Norman. He’ll also need to be a really stout blocker.
Best-case scenario for this season: 13 starts, no bad snaps and no calls for Logan Roberson or Erick Wren: That would be a great season for Alvarez. There are no statistics to help grade out Alvarez’s strong season, but if Oklahoma can finish with fewer sacks than last year, he’ll be a big reason for it – because of his play and his help diagnosing blitz pick-ups.