With summer workouts winding down the Sooner offensive line appears ready to go into two-a-days in the best shape of any group since Bob Stoops became the head coach.
Senior LT Wes Sims has the best summer since he has been at OU. Very athletic and incredibly strong, Sims has always been an average worker who was so strong that he still posted incredible strength totals just by God-given ability. However, Sims has worked this summer to improve his quickness, especially with his feet, which would allow him to pass block better at tackle. He did so well in workouts that quarterback Jason White and defensive end Dan Cody both praised him at Big 12 Media Day.
OU Offensive Line Coach Kevin Wilson has always campaigned that Sims was a good football player and a better offensive tackle than given credit for, but despite his efforts the general public and the media have never rated Sims as one of the nations' best. Out of all the offensive linemen, Sims may be the one who plays the longest in the pros, as he will move into offensive guard or center — his more natural position and probably play a long time in the pros. However, for his senior year he will stay at tackle and he is primmed to have his best year.
Jammal Brown has also had a great summer and worked to get bigger and stronger. Brown is already a dominating pass blocker, but wants to be a dominating run blocker as well. From what I hear, Brown has jumped up 20 pounds on the bench and 50 on the squat, but I will try to find out more definite numbers this week. If he has improved his strength Jammal may be a first round top 15 player pick in the next NFL draft.
Davin Joseph also put together a great summer and has improved his strength this summer. Joseph had only an average year a year ago and that has driven him this summer. He has worked on explosion off the line of scrimmage and feels he has improved his overall strength and speed numbers.
You read about Vince Carter the other day, and he feels he is having his best summer.
Junior guard Kelvin Chaisson has worked incredibly hard on his strength and on becoming a better athlete. The OU strength and conditioning feel he has had a good summer. He will be pushed by Chris Bush, but we say every year that he will be pushed by somebody and he always seems to hold on to his job.
A big key is how well Akim Millington and Chris Messner have progressed this summer. Chester will go into camp at 290 pounds and he now looks like an offensive tackle. He has always been a good athlete, and apparently he has kept his quickness which allowed him to play quarterback in high school. Millington has worked to improve his 300-pound body, but lowering his body fat and improving his strength. He has worked hard every day in the weight room and the OU coaches are looking forwarding to working with him in two-a-days.
Freshmen J.D. Quinn and Cameron Schacht have both worked hard this summer and are going to be dirt dogs on the offensive line. They both will fight you to the death to keep you off their quarterback to provide a hole for the running backs. They are going to be good in the future, and at least one of them may have to be good next year as a backup guard.
Chris Bush is still the sixth man in the offensive line. If Carter isn't totally healthy he may be the starting center, or he could be the guy that rotates at center and both guard positions. ne thing for sure is that Bush will play quite a bit next year.
The key during two-a-days is finding reserve offensive tackles who can play next year and play well. Antonn Reid still hasn't fired within the program and at this point it is not known what he will contribute in the future. Reid needs to pick up his work habits to make an impact or he may not be a factor next year if he doesn't pick up the pace.
Depth is still a problem in the offensive line and that is why signing five linemen this year and five next year is a key to the Sooners recruiting classes over the next two years. However, as Bob Stoops loves to say, "You only need five offensive lineman to play. And if you can have eight quality linemen that can stay healthy then you can have a quality offensive line for the year." The Sooners certainly have enough quality depth to do that this year.
Linemen making strides during summer workouts
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