OU football notebook: Sooners' offensive line ready to hit the ground running

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: August 31, 2011

Regardless which running back is on the field, the Sooners' offensive line made an offseason commitment to improve a 3.3 yards per carry average, the lowest in the Bob Stoops era.

"Right after the Fiesta Bowl, going into winter workouts, we emphasized we've got to get bigger, stronger," said center Ben Habern. "We've got to be able to move guys off the ball and open holes in the run game.

"In spring ball, we did a great job moving guys off the ball. We finally started playing as a unit, understanding our calls, our footwork and where we're going."

Hanna poised for big year

Stoops predicts a big year for tight end James Hanna, who caught 18 passes, seven for touchdowns. His biggest play was a 76-yard touchdown catch in which he outran Oklahoma State's secondary with less than three minutes left in a Bedlam win.

"The funny story about that was one of my friend's roommates said he saw Boone Pickens walk out of the stadium as soon as that play was over," Hanna said. "That was funny to me."

Jones might play Saturday

A week into two-a-days, linebacker Kellen Jones transferred from Michigan to OU. A true freshman, Jones still has much to learn but might play Saturday on special teams.

"Kellen is a real serious guy," said nickel back Tony Jefferson. "He's always watching film. He's asking me questions. The guy is driven. He wants to play. He came in here and did what he had to do."

The Sooners are thin at linebacker. Veteran Travis Lewis suffered a broken toe three days into two-a-days. Austin Box, who would have been a senior returning starter, died in May. Jones is listed as a backup weakside linebacker.

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