Two years ago, Gabe Ikard was suiting for tight end for Class 4A Bishop McGuinness.
In four days, he’ll be suiting up for offensive guard for the Division I Sooners. And not only suiting up, but playing, too.
Ikard, a redshirt freshmen out of Oklahoma City, has made remarkable progress in just a little over a year in Norman. Despite having little time to learn offensive line and put on the necessary weight (he’s put on 50 pounds in a year) to play there.
“Coming out and going to a completely new position is pretty impressive,” said starting right tackle Eric Mensik, who converted to line from tackle late last season. “He’s done a great job,” “And from watching film, he’s coming off the ball good, he’s got good feet and hands so from what the coaches have taught us he’s taken it very well.”
So well in fact that Ikard is pushing Stephen Good for a starting role at left guard.
“Stephen Good has played, Tyler Evans has played. But if you watch Gabe Ikard and (freshman) Bronson Irwin behind them, they look better than them in practice most of the time,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. “So you’re going to see Ikard out there.”
At worst, Ikard will be OU’s top reserve off the sidelines at guard, with the capability to play center, too.
“He’s worked hard to be in a position to play and make an impact and I believe he will,” coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s been a real positive addition to that group.”