STILLWATER — Oklahoma State returns all five starting offensive linemen from last year's 11-2 team — left tackle Nick Martinez, left guard Jonathan Rush, center Grant Garner, right guard Lane Taylor and right tackle Levy Adcock.
Entering last season, however, no one knew what to expect from a line that returned just 12 combined starts.
Seniors Adcock and Garner both burst on the scene in 2010 and helped anchor a unit that looks to be one of the Cowboys' strongest in 2011. Adcock earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a junior, and Garner enters 2011 on the watch list for the Rimington Award, awarded each year to the nation's top center.
What is your relationship like?
Adcock: We lift together; we practice together; we pretty much do everything together. We're pretty close since we see each other every single day; I mean, we sweat together and we bleed together.”
Garner: We get along. ... I think all the lineman have a good chemistry together. We really just work well as a team together.
DUO THEY MOST RESEMBLE
George and Ringo
If the Beatles were the Fab Four, and Lennon and McCartney were the acclaimed songwriting duo, what about the other two guys? Exactly. That's the way it is for offensive linemen. Like George and Ringo, always in the background, Garner and Adcock provide the rhythm and the beat for the Cowboys' Helter Skelter attack.
FROM THE COACH
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline on the offensive line
“We've got a chance. It's a whole new year. Anybody who thinks it's not a new year, they haven't been in the business long. It's a whole new challenge. One of the better things that's going on with us is, the guys who are starting haven't played a lot, so it's still fresh to them; there's an innocence to the game. And they're all seniors, and they won't be playing a lot longer. Because of that, it kind of keeps that ‘I've arrived' entitlement attitude to the side.”
OSU OFFENSIVE LINE DYNAMIC DUO
Jon Kolb and John Ward, 1967-68
Oklahoma State has had five offensive line all-Americans. Two of them played together in 1967-68 after growing up in Greater Tulsa.
Kolb, from Owasso, played center; Ward, from Tulsa Rogers, played tackle.
Kolb was a two-time all-Big Eight pick who went on to start for four Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl champions. Ward played six NFL seasons, including on the Vikings' 1972 Super Bowl team.
The Cowboys were not blessed with great talent at the ballhandling positions in the 1960s. Put Kolb and Ward on the team with great tailbacks and receivers in the '70s, '80s and '00s, and they would be the stuff of legend.
Pegged by many analysts as the best offensive line in the Big 12, the Cowboys return all five starters from a year ago. And still, competition rages, giving the positions unrivaled depth. Tackle Levy Adcock is an All-American candidate and center Grant Garner is on the Rimington watch list. The group excels at both pass and run blocking.
T Michael Bowie
G Jonathan Rush
C Grant Garner
G Lane Taylor
T Levy Adcock
T Parker Graham
T Daniel Koenig
G Brandon Webb
G Nick Martinez
G Gerron Anthony
C Casey LaBrue
Unit Grade: A
There may not be a group in the country that works better together