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OU football: Bill Bedenbaugh discusses having 5 different starting linemen in 5 games

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Redshirt junior offensive lineman Erik Swenson pushes against his opponent during the game against Texas Tech Sept. 28.

Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said he has never had five different starting lineups in five games.

With offensive linemen Erik Swenson and Adrian Ealy missing games due to lower-body injuries, it's become a reality, and head coach Lincoln Riley suggested it'll continue after announcing the two linemen's status for OU/Texas on Saturday as "highly questionable." Swenson started at left tackle for the first four contests before not suiting up for OU's 45-20 win over Kansas. Ealy missed OU's wins over Texas Tech and Kansas after starting the first three games of the season.

"It's not easy," Bedenbaugh said Tuesday night. "It's not ideal but you go out there and you gotta play. You gotta produce. Whoever's out there has got to play to the highest level of their ability. That's where we're at."

The fallout is redshirt sophomore Tyrese Robinson filling in for Ealy, playing out of position at right guard, a position Bedenbaugh said Robinson has played for just "eight to 10 days." Virginia transfer R.J. Proctor is in Swenson's place at left tackle.

With four of the five starting offensive lineman that won the 2018 Joe Moore Award now in the NFL, Bedenbaugh is already dealing with new faces in the mix. The unit is led by Redshirt sophomore center Creed Humphrey, who was thrown into the fire last year as a redshirt freshman. He's now taken the role of leader of an offensive line that's shown its fair share of difficulties starting the season.

Holding calls and quarterback hurries have been plentiful, and criticism has led to Robinson, who was called for a holding call on the Kansas 7-yard line. The drive ended in a punt after senior quarterback Jalen Hurts and junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb lost a combined 25 yards that saw the Jayhawk defensive line blow past the Sooner front.

The six-year Oklahoma coach remains critical, but he knows the setbacks injuries are giving them as of late.

"(Robinson's) a sophomore," Bedenbaugh said. "He did a good job. Did he do a great job? No. But I'm proud of him. Everyone thinks, 'OK, just go play tackle.' It doesn't work like that.

"He's more of a guard, but heck, we're winning with him."

Kickoff for the Red River Rivalry in Dallas will be at 11 a.m. CT Saturday on FOX.

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Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He's covered football, basketball and volleyball. 

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