In the Sooners' 24-17 win over UAB, fans and media alike appeared to have mixed emotions on how the play of Oklahoma's offensive line. So to find out the real scoop, we asked offensive line coach James Patton to give us his point view on the play of his troops on the OUInsider Two Minute Drill.
JH: How well did the offensive line play in the opening game?
JP: "There are definitely some things that we need to get better at. For the first game out, and again I thought UAB's front was pretty solid in their front seven, but our kids did a nice job out there. Again, the effort that they played with makes up for some mistakes that they made — like getting your shoulders turned or not taking the right angle. We have to do a better job this week in practice to correct some fundamentals, but if we keep that same energy, same effort, same attitude and intensity every week we can build on that."
JH: So your group really got after it in the game?
JP: "Yeah, the kids played hard. The offense in general had great effort. We saw guys blocking down field and hustling down on big runs. Shoot, Paul Thompson ran down and tried to get him a block on that big run that Adrian had. In general, we were playing with a good attack mentality."
JH: Are you confident that when you need it that the offensive line can get one or two yards with power football?
JP: "Again, if we play sound fundamentally and we keep getting better on some of the things that we do in practice, I think we will have a chance to be successful. Of course, all we need to do is give Adrian a crease. If we keep playing hard and keep getting better fundamentally, I think we will have a chance to be pretty good."
JH: Are big enough to be a physical offensive line?
JP: "Yeah, I think we are. Our kids have worked hard all summer and what they did in the preseason camp was good. I like their work ethic. They are holding their weight great, they are in good shape and I think they have good stamina. I like they way they are right now."
JH: You want to rotate seven or eight guys this year, but Saturday you had so few snaps that the starting five almost played the whole game. Were you disappointed that you didn't get more players in the game?
JP: "It is tough to rotate guys in when they are getting so much rest. Plus, you get those five guys playing together, and we didn't have a whole lot of missed assignments. The kids were playing pretty hard and I see those guys' eyes every time they come off the field. There was not one of them looking down or looking like they were tired. So I kept rolling with that group. Hopefully, Trent Williams, Chase Beeler, Sherrone Moore and that group will have a good week at practice this week, which will give us confidence as coaches to put them in a game situation."
JH: Now that you have looked at film, how did the work between Adrian and the offensive line appear to go?
JP: "AD is a pretty special player so he is going to run where they are not, and that is what good backs do. We will get him on course, get him on an aiming point and track, but he also makes some cuts that we don't block sometimes. We will just keep getting on guys and blocking them to the whistle. When we do that, because we are assigned to block somebody on every play, then we have a chance to have a successful play."
JH: How about your match-up with the front seven of the Washington Huskies?
JP: "Washington is pretty good up front. Their front seven and linebackers are strong and they have two really active defensive ends — No. 29 and No. 7. Both are good rangy defensive ends, and their inside guys are real strong. We have to play well."
Two Minute Drill: James Patton
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