The Sooners' are looking forward to an improved front this season after returning all five starting offensive linemen and several key reserves.
Oklahoma assistant offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said this is one of very few seasons where all starters have returned.
“It hasn’t happened many times in my career that I can think of," Bedenbaugh said. "I think we have seven or eight guys who have started. This maybe has happened one time in my career before. It’s a good problem to have.”
The Sooners returning five are redshirt junior Orlando Brown, redshirt sophomore Bobby Evans, junior Ben Powers, junior Dru Samia and redshirt senior Eric Wren. Senior Jonathan Alvarez, junior Alex Dalton and redshirt sophomore Cody Ford all started games last season, as well.
Bedenbaugh is excited about the possibilities so much depth can give.
“The good thing that I can do now is move some guys around, you know, play guys in different positions," Bedenbaugh said. "Like Ben, I can move him to both guards. At some point I’ll start putting Drew at tackle again. That’s the biggest thing - we’ve got to get some tackle depth. We’ve got bodies, but those guys behind Bobby and Orlando have really got to step up. They’ve done a good job up to this point but they’re not where they need to be.”
With so much depth on the offensive line, competition has been high this spring. Ford, who sat out a majority of last season after breaking his leg against Ohio State, said the competition only fuels them.
“It just pushes us more and more every day because we know we have competition so the guy behind us can beat us out," Ford said. "We’re pushing to stay in front of them but we’re also pushing them to try to beat us out.”
Bedenbaugh was clear that there isn't a set starting five, and despite the depth he has now, he's still heading into next season with caution.
“We’ve started at a pretty good point but it’s just the start," Bedenbaugh said. "After getting through spring ball, the summer, fall camp we’ll see where we’re at. Hopefully we can roll guys around but you never know where you’re at. Last year Alvarez got hurt, Cody got hurt, so we’re in a good position right now but you never know how guys are going to progress so we’ll see.”