The 'Sloth' Steps Up His Game

The guys up front on each side of right guard Tyler Evans have different ways of nicknaming or describing him.

Right tackle Eric Mensik draws Evans' nickname from a classic 1985 adventure, comedy flick.

"We call him the guy from The Goonies, not Chunk, the other one, [the one that says], ‘Hey, you guys,' Sloth," Mensik said, as he chuckled in front of reporters. "I call him Sloth."

Center Ben Habern refers to him another way.

"Yeah, I mean he's a just, Tyler's just a big goofball," Habern said.

‘Sloth,' a ‘big goofball,' or whatever else the Sooners want to call Evans, he's a guy that played in 11 games and started four as a true freshman last year and has really excelled through fall camp.

"Yeah, I mean, especially even from spring he's improved tons," Habern said.

Mensik seconded that.

"He has," Mensik said. "He's doing really well, and I enjoy having him right next to me. I mean, me and him are teammates. You know, when you block down together, it's always good to have him with me because when we come down, I mean, it's just a force, and we're just working as hard as we can."

Evans is a force in particular.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 316 lbs., he is the heaviest starting offensive lineman the Sooners have and ties backup offensive linemen Bronson Irwin and Josh Aladenoye as the heaviest on the two-deep depth chart.

"I mean, the kid is huge," Mensik said.

But not only is he big; he has a shiftiness about him.

"What's impressive is he can move his body really well," Habern said. "And I'm blown away that he can keep his weight especially with this heat, and, you know I mean, he's a consistent [weight] day in and day out. And like I said, it's impressive. I mean, he runs really well, and he moves his feet well, and so it's cool to see a guy that big being able to do things that most big guys like that can't do."

He's used all of those advantages to boost his play to the next level, especially lately.

"From after that [2009] season from winter on, he just worked on footwork and his technique and from spring into two-a-days he's improved so much," Habern said.

"And even going into the last couple of weeks, or the last week of two-a-days was probably his best week I've ever seen."

There's a couple of things he's been doing particularly well in live situations.

"I mean, just watching the [drills], he was rolling people off the ball and pancaking guys," Habern said. "And so it's good to see him improving every day."

Evans said he's ready to go out and do some more of that in real game settings in the upcoming weeks, with the season opener next Saturday in Norman against Utah State.

"Oh by far, I'm more excited to get out there than anything," Evans said. "I think this is just like coming to a new school and starting all over again. Well, it's the same school, but another year, another season, and so it just gets me all pumped up, and I'm just excited to go again."

And so is Sooner Nation to see the improvement the ‘Sloth' has made.

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