NORMAN—Ben Habern knows how this game works, and he's fine with it. The running backs and receivers get the attention, and the quarterback gets the credit. This is what he signed up for.
Sunday silence is an offensive lineman's glory. Don't hold anybody, or, perhaps more accurately, don't get caught holding anybody. Don't move before the snap. Oklahoma's center does his job and knows his coaches might be the only ones who notice.
Lined up across from one of the most dominant defensive lines in college football against Nebraska on Saturday, he'll have more than just offensive line coach James Patton watching him and his fellow linemen.
"It'll be cool getting a little attention," Habern said. "Definitely encouraging."
The reason for the sudden attention? Ndamukong Suh, who spent the first part of his season showing the college football world why it should know his name, and the next part explaining how to pronounce it. (It's en-DAHM-uh-ken Soo.) He may have even bullrushed his way onto at least a few Heisman ballots come December.
But he's not the only reason. Suh has drawn predictable double teams, and though he still leads his team in tackles, his fellow defensive tackle Jared Crick proved last week he can be almost as difficult to keep out of the backfield.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder had five sacks and 13 tackles in the Cornhuskers' 20-10 win over Baylor last week, earning Big 12 Player of the Week honors.
"We can't take him lightly, and we can't take the defensive ends lightly, either. They're real active players," Habern said. "We can't prepare just for Suh and say we're going to double or triple team him. We've got to be able to block the other guys, too."
After tonight, they'll know for sure if they were ready. But before then, they appear more prepared now than ever to face Suh and Co. Last week against Kansas, the same five linemen started two consecutive games. That's no guarantee Nebraska will make it three.
"Who starts doesn't much matter, it's just how we've played the last two weeks," said coach Bob Stoops. "With a bit more consistency."
For now, that task falls on Trent Williams, Brody Eldridge, Habern, Stephen Good and Cory Brandon.
"It makes me feel good that we go up against some pretty good guys in practice," Patton said. "Those guys are very strong, explosive but we're going to do what we do.