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Oklahoma State football: Offensive line struggles to find consistency

Line coach Joe Wickline has shuffled the Cowboys' line combinations in order to find a fivesome that works.
By Gina Mizell Modified: October 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: October 22, 2013

Then, projected starting left tackle Devin Davis, who was considered perhaps the unit's best player, sustained a season-ending knee injury during fall camp. Koenig missed two games and about 20 days of practice due to injury. Others have made mistakes through six games.

That's all led to Graham starting at left tackle and right guard. And Grisbhy and Koenig at right guard and right tackle. In all, five players have taken the first snap at right guard. Only Webb and center Jake Jenkins have started every game at the same position.

And though the Cowboys have brought in nine offensive linemen in their last two recruiting classes, only Grisbhy, Garrett and Paul Lewis have been ready for meaningful snaps this season.

The combination we saw Saturday was first introduced in practice last Sunday or Tuesday, Webb said. And the results were uneven against a TCU defense widely regarded as the best in the Big 12.

Jeremy Smith gained just 14 yards on 12 carries, but true freshman Rennie Childs totaled 45 yards and a touchdown on just nine attempts. The Horned Frogs recorded two sacks.

So what led to the overhaul? Wickline wouldn't divulge details out of respect to the players who were moved and replaced, but kept to his philosophy that he'll take getting the best five players on the field over continuity.

Gundy classified the offensive line's performance Saturday as “very average.” Wickline also understands his group still has a long way to go.

But he was encouraged by Saturday's progress with the Cowboys' latest combination.

“We're not ready for the draft right now,” Wickline said. “We've got a little work to do, but I think there's a starting point as a group, both on the first team, on the second team, guards, tackles, centers.

“I really I think we're just starting to come together a little bit. I think there's a nice fit, there's a nice chemistry, so we'll see how it works.”


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