NORMAN — Oklahoma boasted 102 career starts between six players on its offensive line entering the 2012 season.
After Monday's latest dose of bad news, that senior guard Tyler Evans has torn the ACL in his right knee, that number has been reduced to 43 between four players.
Evans did not redshirt as a true freshman, meaning he could recover and return to the Sooners next season.
But still, a position once believed to be among the strongest on the entire 2012 team has been dealt another blow to go with last week's devastating news that senior center Ben Habern, who had 30 career starts, would end his career after deciding lingering neck and back injuries weren't worth the risk.
The Sooners also lost promising redshirt freshman Dylan Dismuke, who had to accept a medical exemption to prematurely end his promising career because of what is essentially an unfixable knee injury.
Now, Evans, who has 29 career starts, won't be on the Sooners' 2012 line, either.
“It was later in the practice,” coach Bob Stoops said of Evans' injury, which came in OU's first practice Friday but wasn't diagnosed until a Monday MRI. “Just running down the field, really.
“A couple of tough breaks, but we've still got guys in there we really like ... but yeah, it makes you a little more thin.”
Junior Gabe Ikard will shift to center to replace Habern, as he did for several games last season, and, also like last year, sophomore Adam Shead will step in at guard for Ikard.
“It's really unfortunate,” Shead said. “You hate to see those types of things happen to such good people. I'm around Ben and Tyler; I just love those guys, and I hate it for them.
“But we just have to keep on stepping in there and rolling with the punches. Got to keep on moving. Keep pushing.”
Junior Bronson Irwin, a Mustang native with no career starts, is now a first-team Oklahoma guard.