STILLWATER — How to replace Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon was, understandably, a major question during Oklahoma State spring practice and something that will continue to be monitored in 2012.
But there are also three big holes to fill on the Cowboy offensive line left by Levy Adcock, Grant Garner and Nick Martinez.
Yet coach Mike Gundy has told reporters in recent weeks that this could be his best offensive line he's had at OSU.
To be fair, Gundy has been dropping that “best we've ever had here” line a lot, because the overall depth in the program is the best it's ever been. Still, that's high praise for an offensive line that has generally been regarded as one of the best in the nation after allowing only 22 sacks over the past two seasons and helping the Cowboys rank third in the nation in total offense in both 2010 and 2011.
It's almost simply become expected, though, that unit will be stout each season. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline's magic in 2010 is largely responsible for that.
Wickline took a line that lost four starters and mixed and matched and put guys in the right spot to help OSU average 174.38 rushing yards and 345.8 passing yards per game that season while allowing just 10 sacks. That success then carried over to 2011 with largely the same group, other than the addition of junior college transfer Michael Bowie.
Now OSU must make up for the loss of an All-American in Adcock and the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in Garner, but it's arguably more equipped to fill those voids.