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.”