“He's a capable starter,” offensive line coach James Patton said of Irwin. “He plays hard. He's a great kid. He had a great winter and a great spring, and it looks like he carried it over (through the summer).”
If injuries weren't enough, OU also lost a true freshman guard who was a four-star prospect to homesickness.
John Michael McGee (6-foot-3, 267 pounds), a Texarkana, Texas, native, left the team after just a few practices.
“Goodluck to OU on the field I'll be watching,” tweeted McGee, a four-star prospect. “It's just not for me.”
OU has, though, recently received good news regarding the health of lineman Nila Kasitati and Austin Woods, who have each battled serious, non-football-related illnesses through the offseason.
Kasitati, a redshirt freshman, had heart surgery last week and is expected to make a full recovery. Woods, the team's junior field-goal snapper, has battled Hodgkin lymphoma through the summer and has been cleared to play despite his continued cancer fight. He practiced with the team Monday before heading to a chemotherapy treatment.
Oklahoma players and coaches alike have praised true freshman center Ty Darlington, from Apopka, Fla., as someone who could immediately contribute. He might be called upon to do so after the recent wave upheaval on the line.
Stoops did announce Monday, too, that redshirt freshman defensive end Nathan Hughes (6-foot-6, 248 pounds) has switched to the offensive line, which should provide more depth.
“They were so deep all the way around,” quarterback Landry Jones said of his offensive line. “So, yeah, we lost two really dominant players, but we're still pretty set at those spots.”