NORMAN, Okla. — OU Run Game Coordinator and offensive line coach Kevin Wilson has improved the Sooners offensive line to the point that it is now considered one of the best units in college football.
There is no question that there is more talent along the offensive line, but it still lacks depth. All players also have to understand that they are in competition for their positions.
After Wednesday night's practice, I had a chance to catch with Coach Wilson for the OUInsider.com two minute drill.
JH: You have always said that all players have to earn their position and now it appears you have quite a competition going on at left tackle between returning starter Wes Sims and redshirt sophomore Chris Messner. That just proves how tough your camp is doesn't it?
KW: "The competition is to get our best five guys to play hard as a unit. Chris Messner has gotten better and I think Wes has been a little lazy, so I am giving Chris a chance to show that he can play. This is not a little game with Wes. Chris has earned this chance. Chris Bush has gotten better. We held Vince Carter out of practice for a day with a sore knee and Chris (Bush) is playing well enough that he will get some reps in games at center. The competition is there and we are trying to get both guys (Carter and Sims) to play harder."
JH: Isn't it great that Messner has come on, because before camp weren't you concerned that he wouldn't be big enough to hold up at offensive tackle?
KW: "Yeah, for me it is a real plus that Chris is playing well. He is doing well in one-on-one pass rush against a real good defense. Chris is playing at about 279, maybe 278 today, so he is getting there. He has good athleticism, is smart using his hands and feet and he is doing well enough that I now feel comfortable playing him. It is very similar to how Brad Davis came on last year. He is gaining on it and it is good for us that he has played his way into getting a chance to start. We need Chris to come through. Akim (Millington) may help us as a freshman. Akim has gotten a little tired, warn out and a little hot, but he is practicing real hard for a young man. So, he is going to be real good, but right now Chris Messner has been the best guy the last four to five days."
JH: Do you feel that you have to play Akim this year?
KW: "In a perfect world maybe not. If we need him we do, and that will be it. He did look very good early, but he is a little tired right now. It is just his strength level and things as a young kid. That is a lot of weight to carry around and go hard every day. So, he is wearing down a smidge. However, if there was a perfect world maybe he could be on the two-deep and be ready to go, but we could get by and get a year from that without playing him. We will see how it plays out, because tomorrow may be a different story."
JH: So, as you search for your five best guys aren't you still going to get great work from your players because they still have to bring it every day to practice to hold onto their positions?
KW: "We have some talent and that is nice. The two guys on the right side (Davin Joseph and Jammal Brown) are extremely good, they are playing great. They are having great camps and competing against great players. Chris Bush was limited early with a bad quad and a sore leg. He has come strong and has always been a good player for us. It is just getting Kelvin (Chaisson) and Wes to get a little bit more physical, and a little bit more aggressive. We just need both to become more solid in their assignments and grow up for us. Chris Messner, Brett Rayl or John Flynn are the other guys that make up our eight or nine guys for us right now.
Two Minute Drill: Kevin Wilson
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