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Oklahoma football: Offensive line depth an issue now — and for the future

One more serious injury to an offensive lineman could be catastrophic for the group, but it's really the next few seasons that are areas of concern.
by Jason Kersey Published: September 14, 2012

/articleid/3709778/1/pictures/1831379">Photo - Oklahoma Sooners offensive linesman Gabe Ikard (64) lines up as center in front of UTEP's Marcus Bagley (8) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas El Paso Miners (UTEP) at Sun Bowl Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in El Paso, Texas.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Sooners offensive linesman Gabe Ikard (64) lines up as center in front of UTEP's Marcus Bagley (8) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas El Paso Miners (UTEP) at Sun Bowl Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

* John Michael McGee, a highly anticipated freshman guard who signed last February, practiced just a couple times last month before deciding he didn't want to play football anymore.

Patton said that the current slate of backups will have to be ready to play, naming Nila Kasitati, a promising redshirt freshman guard; Ty Darlington, a true freshman center who has earned praise from teammates and coaches since the summer; and Austin Woods, the junior in his third year as OU's field-goal deep snapper but who also is still recovering from his battle with Hodgkin lymphoma.

“A guy like (John-Philip) Hughes — a walk-on — played and is practicing hard,” Patton added. “We can move a tackle inside if we needed to. But we need to stay healthy for sure.”

Evans never used a redshirt season, so he's expected back next year.

But even so, at this point, the future depth on OU's offensive front doesn't look very promising. The Sooners have but one offensive lineman — Tulsa Union three-star tackle Dalton Rodriguez — committed for 2013. Another tackle, San Antonio's Matt Beyer, was committed before announcing last week that he was giving up football because of a serious neck injury.

Senior left tackle Lane Johnson — a high school quarterback who came to OU a tight end, and then became a defensive end before settling on the offensive line last season — said he doesn't see the depth as a problem because he's become accustomed to it.

“We didn't have that much depth last year at tackle, just the four kinda like we have now,” he said of himself, sophomores Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson and redshirt freshman Derek Farniok.

“So basically, we're used to it.”

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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