Oklahoma football: Offensive line coach James Patton won't return

Oklahoma assistant coach James Patton will not return to the team next season
by Jason Kersey Published: February 11, 2013

“You kinda have to go into this whole thing with an open mind, and know that I’m committed to Oklahoma, not Coach Patton. That’s something my coach in high school told me, just, ‘Don’t get too attracted to a single coach, because you don’t know how long they’re gonna be there.’”

Oklahoma’s offensive line labored through a difficult 2012 season, during which several linemen were injured and missed games. Two senior starters — Ben Habern and Tyler Evans — were lost for the season before it began, and starting guards Bronson Irwin and Adam Shead fought through various injuries throughout the year.

Still, the OU line performed admirably for the most part, considering its attrition. After allowing six sacks in OU’s first two games, opponents recorded just nine through Oklahoma’s final 11 contests.

Some current Oklahoma linemen took to Twitter on Monday morning to express their appreciation for Patton.

“Going to miss Coach Patton and I wish him the best of luck,” tweeted Irwin.

Senior center/guard Gabe Ikard tweeted, “Coach Patton is my favorite coach I’ve had. Taught me a lot about football and a lot about life. Really going to miss him.”

Patton first joined Oklahoma’s staff in 2006, and coached the entire offensive line for his first five seasons in Norman. Beginning last season, Bruce Kittle took over coaching tackles.

“If you messed up, he made sure you understood what you did wrong, and he was able to help correct the mistake you made,” said Eric Mensik, a first-team All-Big 12 tackle in 2010.

Mensik began his OU career as a tight end, but switched positions and credits Patton for his success.

“I went from being a 260 tight end to be a 310-pound lineman,” Mensik said.

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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