NOTE: Oklahoma starts bounce practice starts March 22. This alternation previews the Sooners’ bounce position-by-position.
Oklahoma’s abhorrent band in 2021 will be as aggressive as it anytime has been beneath Bill Bedenbaugh.
Four players are allusive for the starting job at larboard tackle. The centermost atom seems advanced open. Appropriate accouterment could get absorbing absolutely fast depending on how things agitate out on the larboard side.
Practice this bounce will go a continued way against absolution Bedenbaugh apperceive who’s who. But apprehend best of these battles to abide able-bodied into the abatement season.
First, apperceive this: Bedenbaugh won’t comedy favorites. He’ll acquisition the best bristles guys, or the bristles guys who accomplish best at their position.
At larboard tackle, that could be abiding amateur Erik Swenson. Or it could be abruptness 2020 apprentice Anton Harrison. Or it could be 2020 opt-out Stacey Wilkins, who’s aback this year. Or it could be Tennessee alteration Wanya Morris, who has the alone 5-star accreditation as a recruit and was a two-year amateur in Knoxville.
Ability-wise, Morris looks like the guy. It was no blow why he started in the SEC as a freshman. Swenson still hasn’t formally appear his intentions, although an OU antecedent says he’s on the bounce agenda and is planning to be a allotment of the aggregation in 2021. (The NFL’s March 1 borderline for seniors to acknowledge for the abstract or acknowledgment to school, accustomed an added year of NCAA eligibility, agilely passed. Swenson is still enrolled at OU as a alum student, according to online records). Count on Swenson to already afresh be in the average of things at larboard tackle. Nobody knows what akin Wilkins is at afterwards demography aftermost division off. And Harrison, who played in eight amateur in 2020, showed arresting adeptness and adeptness aftermost division but additionally accomplished growing pains.
Right accouterment was ably manned by Adrian Ealy the aftermost two seasons, but he declared aboriginal for the NFL. That atom could appear bottomward to which players don’t beforehand on the larboard side. Bedenbaugh will amount out abundant of that this spring, but activity into practice, with Swenson and Morris both accepting two years starting acquaintance at larboard tackle, that abstracts to necessitate Harrison alive over and aggressive with Wilkins on the appropriate side.
Meanwhile, the centermost atom is in flux.
With three-year amateur and All-American Creed Humphrey additionally declaring aboriginal for the NFL, addition new will activate every comedy this year.
Will it be fifth-year chief Ian McIver? Will it be 2020 UCLA alteration Chris Murray? Or will it be 2020 apprentice Andrew Raym?
With Humphrey entrenched, there was never a charge to get the abutting guy ready. But Humphrey’s advancement the aftermost two years has been McIver, so he abstracts to accept the advance there.
But Murray, who spent aftermost division at bouncer — and spent the aboriginal bisected of the division in NCAA alteration limbo — has the versatility to comedy center, which he did some at UCLA. In fact, he was the aboriginal accurate apprentice to alpha a division opener at centermost for the Bruins aback at atomic 1982 (as far as annal go back). He started his aboriginal three academy amateur at centermost afore arena the abutting 21 amateur at guard. Murray played four amateur at appropriate bouncer aftermost division abaft Tyrese Robinson.
And again there’s Raym. One of the best able abhorrent linemen to appear out of the accompaniment of Oklahoma in years, Raym was a aerial academy All-American at larboard tackle, but he played that position out of need, his drillmaster said. Raym’s accustomed atom is center, and he has the adeptness to boss at that position at the above academy level. He got training aftermost year as a bouncer because Humphrey and McIver (five amateur in 2020) had the acquaintance in the average and the Sooners were abounding at tackle. But affective forward, his ideal position is at center.
Both starters are aback at guard, although Robinson on the appropriate ancillary and Marquis Hayes on the larboard both apperceive Bedenbaugh consistently has his eye on advance things.
Replacing those two would be hard. Hayes has started the aftermost 24 after games, and Robinson has started 25 in a row. Their jobs assume safe, although if McIver wins the starting job at center, Murray (five amateur in 2020) and Raym (nine) could be attractive for arena time aback at guard. Also, Brey Walker (four) is a inferior this division and could claiming for snaps.
The absoluteness is that although there is affluence of acquaintance and ability, anybody needs to access this bounce as an befalling to affect Bedenbaugh.
During the aftermost two seasons, the 2020 accumulation accumulated to alpha 113 of a accessible 114 amateur together, and yet the run bold aftermost year didn’t get activity until midseason (OU’s 4.72 yards per backpack ranked 43rd in the nation), and OU quarterbacks were sacked 2.18 times per bold (62nd nationally). Penalties additionally hindered the group’s efficiency.
Regardless of who’s aback or who’s advancing on, Bedenbaugh is consistently attractive for improvement. That starts this spring.
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