Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was blunt when asked how he felt about his backup tackles.
“Not great,” Bedenbaugh said. “It's reality. I don't feel very good about it.”
Juniors Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams are the Sooners' starters at tackle, and both have played well. But after them, the situation gets murky.
Bedenbaugh said senior guard Bronson Irwin is working as the third tackle.
“After that, we've gotta have guys who step up and continue to get better,” Bedenbaugh said, seemingly referring to sophomore Derek Farniok and junior Josiah St. John.
St. John was one of three junior-college transfers the Sooners added in their 2013 recruiting class, but so far, none of them have seen any significant action.
Guards Tony Feo and Dionte Savage have played in three games, but St. John has yet to make an appearance.
“You know, if you bring in a JUCO kid in December, where he's here through spring ball, then those are the guys you really expect to play,” Bedenbaugh said. “These kids got here in the summer. Some of them later than others.
“It's hard to get on the field. We've got some pretty quality guys starting in front of them.”
MONTGOMERY HAS TO KEEP PUSHING PHILLIPS
Through three games, Oklahoma's defensive line has certainly exceeded the low preseason expectations many had for it.
Perhaps no defensive lineman has been more impressive, though, than sophomore tackle Jordan Phillips. He was a four-star prospect out of high school, but to this point in his career, hadn't developed enough to see any significant playing time.
New defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery arrived in February and began making an impact on Phillips' work ethic and skills, and the results are clear. Phillips has started all three games this year.
“I put my foot on his throat every single day,” Montgomery said. “Because the minute you let up … you give him an inch, he's gonna take a foot. He's a good kid. He's learning. He's learned how to play at a high level, and when he does, it shows up.
“Sometimes you've gotta be hard on him, but at the same time, you've gotta be critical of the mistakes they make, you've gotta teach them how to do it better, and I'm not real negative in my approach.”
Junior offensive tackle Daryl Williams, on the offense's versatility:
“We have the potential to do anything — run, pass, whatever. I don't think we've reached our potential yet. It's really not surprising to me or anybody on the offense or the team for what we did on Saturday or last week or a couple weeks ago with rushing and with passing last week.”