Oklahoma football notebook: Offensive line outlook improves

Sooners coach Bob Stoops expects center Gabe Ikard in lineup for game vs. West Virginia
by Jason Kersey and Stephanie Kuzydym Published: November 12, 2012

When asked about his offensive line injuries, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said the outlook was “better.”

Both right guard Bronson Irwin and left guard Adam Shead suffered sore ankles in the past few games. Left tackle Lane Johnson still isn't seeing a start after sustaining a sprained ankle against Notre Dame.

Then Saturday against Baylor, starting center Gabe Ikard stood on the sideline in street clothes after he was diagnosed with “head issues” and wasn't cleared to play.

“I'm expecting to have Gabe Ikard back (for West Virginia),” Stoops said. “He was very close Thursday but didn't feel that they were ready to clear him.

“Lane Johnson was better, finished the game. Actually, Lane had a nice game when he was in there. Limited snaps, but did well. He'll be improved.

“Bronson was improved. Adam, we believe will be fine with a day or two of rest. So I think we'll have all those guys ready to go.”

The offensive line already lost both Tyler Evans and Nila Kasitati to ACL tears and Ben Habern to a lingering neck issue.

BOB STOOPS WAS NERVOUS ABOUT TY DARLINGTON STARTING AT CENTER

Stoops didn't want to admit it before the game, but he was nervous. He had lost starting center Ben Habern before the season even began. Then he lost Gabe Ikard for the week due to a concussion. That's when he found himself counting on the third-string center, a true freshman, to start the Baylor game, a contest OU lost a year ago.

But OU's coach said he had confidence in freshman Ty Darlington.

“A coach's son, he was ready for the moment,” Stoops said. “He didn't flinch. Even before the game, I was excited to see his demeanor, and he was ready to play.”

The freshman from Apopka, Fla., made his first true start, helped lead Oklahoma to two scoring drives to start the game and had two false starts, which Stoops referred to as “hiccups.”

“There's a guy you feel, as things progress, you can go to and possibly move Gabe around if you need to,” Stoops said. “Just proud of Ty to play like he did.”


by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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