OU's offensive line needs a repeat performance

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: September 7, 2011

NORMAN — Oklahoma's offensive line graded out extremely high in the Sooners' 47-14 season opening win Saturday against Tulsa.

Quarterback Landry Jones wasn't sacked — in fact, he rarely was flushed out of the pocket.

“It was kind of like playing seven-on-seven,” Jones said. “In protection, when you don't have anyone in your face, you can go through all your (reads). That's huge to have good protection.”

After their smashing debut, OU's offensive line will face one of its stiffest challenges all season following a bye week.

Florida State last season finished third in the nation in sacks (48). The Seminoles return three of four defensive line starters, including defensive end Brandon Jenkins, who was among the national leaders (13.5).

It won't be the same FSU defense 85,000 fans watched get torched by the Sooners, who romped to a 47-17 win last year in Norman.

Under first-year defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, OU coach Bob Stoops' brother, the Seminoles improved dramatically defensively the second half of the season.

“It's like anything else, the more you do it the better you're going to be at it,” said OU guard Gabe Ikard. “They're a completely different animal than they were last year.

“(Watching film) you can tell how much more confident they are now than when they played us last year. They're very organized. They're sure of themselves.”

One of the key matchups Sept. 17 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee will be whether FSU can generate a consistent pass rush. Jones, at times, gets rattled when under pressure. And the Seminoles can bring the heat. They recorded five sacks in their season-opening win vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

“We played all these guys last year,” said OU center Ben Habern. “We have to be physically and mentally ready. They bring a lot of different blitzes and do a great job disguising them. We just have to spend more time in the film room and be mentally prepared.”

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