Sims, Joseph adjusting to new positions on line

Kevin Wilson, Wes Sims and Davin Joseph talk about this fall's position change experiment on the offensive line. Joseph (pictured left) is working out at left tackle while Sims has been moved from tackle to guard. (Photo by Getty Images/Ronald Martinez)

One of the most intriguing stories currently in the Sooners football camp is the experiment going on with the switch of positions for senior Wes Sims and junior Davin Joseph.

Sims is a three-year starter at offensive tackle, but it has long been thought that his best position is guard. However, he has always been considered the second best tackle on the squad behind All-American Jammal Brown, and Sims has always given a good account of himself at tackle. He hasn't always been perfect, but he has always played winning football and he has played well enough to earn a solid look from the pros.

Joseph stormed into the Sooner football camp out of Florida and immediately worked his way into the starting spot at right guard. Joseph had a super freshman year and a solid sophomore year.

Both players had great summers and reported to fall camp in the best shape of their lives. Both were playing well in camp and in fact, Sims is having his best fall camp ever at OU. However, when Brown was granted a leave of absence to go home after the death of a loved one, OU Offensive Line Coach Kevin Wilson moved Joseph to his tackle spot and inserted senior John Flynn in his spot at guard. Flynn shocked everybody by more than holding his own at 242 pounds. But more importantly, Joseph opened the coach's eyes by playing lights out at tackle.

Joseph played so well at offensive tackle that the wheels started to turn in Coach Wilson's head. Lets see, Wes has always been pretty good at tackle, but we all know that he would be great at guard. Joseph looks like a better tackle prospect than Wes, and looks just as good as Jammal. Hmmmmm.

"When Jammal was gone Davin played a lot at tackle and looked very good out there," said Coach Wilson. "Tackle is a little bit harder to play than guard and he looked good out there. Wes is having his best camp. He is having his best preseason, but there always seems to be an unwritten rule around here that I don't like him, which isn't true. He is playing the best that he has every played. Wes is playing outstanding and playing against a great player in Dan Cody and holding his own pretty well. However, I think Davin might be a little better one-on-one pass blocker on the edge and he might give us a little bit better protection on the edge."

"Then you have big old Wes and Jammal sitting over there side-by-side, and that looks pretty good when you are trying to bang the ball," Wilson continued. "We have a good week here to work at it. I know that you say why didn't you do this back in spring? Well, we were pretty good anyway and both had been pretty good players where they were. I didn't know if Davin could play tackle. We tried a little bit and he looked OK, but during those four days with Jammal gone he went out there everyday and looked really good. He looked so good he looked better than Jammal. So, he might be our best tackle. No disrespect to those guys, but not only is he better than Wes at tackle, but he might be better than Jammal. Those are two nice book-end tackles to give our quarterbacks confidence when they throw the ball, and that is certainly worth looking at."

How tough is this move for Sims and Joseph?

"Getting used to a right-handed stance is the most difficult thing for me" said Sims. "It is a lot different from what I have been doing for the past three years. If you are in a right-handed stance, you have to run to your left or you feel like you have already taken that first step with your left foot up. It just seems really weird."

"It is just getting comfortable in a left-handed stance where you can some off and run block or pass block," said Joseph. "It is just getting used to it really, and getting comfortable at those positions."

Both players are very confident players and both feel that if the coaches decide to stick with these moves that the team will be better for it.

"I think we are going to be OK. I think the moves are going to good for us," said Sims. "I think we are really starting to come together well and we are really starting to jell. We are getting the running plays around to what we like to do best. I think by the time gametime gets here, we should be good."

"I think this group has been together so long and been through so many ups and downs, that we will be very good," said Joseph. "Come gameday I know that guys like Wes and Jammal are going to go out there and play their hardest. We are going to leave everything out on the field."

While it is well understood that Paul Thompson is the real back-up quarterback and will play in any real key emergency at quarterback this year, redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Grady is getting ready to also play back-up quarterback and take all the backup reps that aren't considered serious. Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long has been working hard with Grady trying to get him ready to be a key player for the Sooners this year, and feels that progress is being made.

"He is getting better and better every time we put him out there," said Long. "With Tommy, it is just getting him out there and getting him used to the crowd. That is why we wanted another scrimmage tonight in front of a crowd. That is big for a quarterback just to get people in the seats, and Tommy has become more comfortable with that each and every time."

At tight end, the Sooners will play three players this fall. Bubba Moses will be the starter with junior Willie Roberts and redshirt freshman Joe John Finley backing him.

"Joe John Finley came into camp at 235 pounds and did a great job in our offseason program," said tight end coach Kevin Sumlin. "When he got here he was about 211, so he did a great job and now the key for him is to see if he can keep the weight on while we go through all these practices. He has done a pretty good job thus far. He is around 232 right now, so he is eating like crazy and still running and keeping his conditioning up. Willie is having a very good camp and has really come on in the passing game. He presents a good target and there are a number of ways we can use him this year."

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