It's been the talk, the main question mark, of the off-season, and it's been beaten like a dead drum.
How will the offensive line fare in 2009 with the loss of four starters and now four new starters that have limited game experience?
Thus far in fall camp, it appears the answer to that question is a positive for the Sooners.
And OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson attributes the encouraging signs offered by the offensive line to the position battle at every spot on the line.
"I think as much as anything, we've addressed there's some competition and getting on the field and coming to work," Wilson said. "And, you know, we've talked about if we weren't having a good spring, we'd have a good summer so we can [roll right into] a great preseason. I think they went through preseason [with that attitude]. Every day they've been really good."
That competition has been fueled by the players' motivation so far throughout fall camp.
"Those guys have been good; they've battled," Wilson said. "You know, we're still a work in progress, but it's been as good an attitude and as good a work ethic [as there can be], and they're there everyday, and they're going at it every day, and so I think the talent's good."
It's especially encouraging considering what their habits seemed to be at first.
"I think, initially, we didn't like their attitude and their work habits," Wilson said. "But right now, through preseason, they've been as good as anyone, so that's very pleasing."
That very attitude and work ethic specifically stood out Monday, when the offensive linemen ran sprints.
"Like after practice today, Coach [Stoops] said ‘They've ran as well as linemen have ran in years on a hot day,' so those guys are battling," Wilson said.
As far as the competition is concerned, there are a ton of guys that are fueling it.
"Cory Brandon [is competing] at tackle with Trent , and Jarvis [Jones] will play some guard and tackle to compete there," Wilson said. "Brody [will possibly] play some maybe at center, maybe at guard for competition with Stephen Good and Brian Simmons, and Ben Habern, and Tyler Evans has done well."
But as encouraging as the signs have been so far with their attitude and their work ethic, though, there have been a few slip ups.
"We've missed some blocks, and we make mistakes," Wilson said. "We always will, and every line in the country always does."
But overall, with just about a week until the Sooners' first game, it appears the offensive line won't have as much trouble as many would anticipate, thanks in large part to the everyday competition.
"They've come to work every day, and when you're a big guy and you're battling and it's hot, that's a good sign," Wilson said.