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OU offensive line is unproven and untested, but offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is confident

JAKE TROTTER Modified: August 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm •  Published: August 8, 2009

NORMAN — During Thursday's edition of College Football Live, ESPN analyst and former Heisman winner Andre Ware made a bold, if not bizarre, prediction.

The Oklahoma Sooners, ranked No. 3 in the preseason and returning the Heisman winner at quarterback, would lose four games this season, including the opener to Brigham Young.

His rationale?

OU's inexperienced and unproven offensive line.

No question, the Sooners are undergoing a major overhaul on the offensive line, welcoming four newcomers to the starting lineup.

Gone are household names like Jon Cooper, Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson.

But even though most OU fans — and probably Ware — can't name anyone on this year's Sooner line past left tackle Trent Williams, those in the program maintain the talent and potential remains on hand to deliver a national championship-caliber unit up front.

"It's documented that everybody is concerned about our offensive line. I'm not. At all," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Friday during OU media day. "The line is as talented as any in this league and the country. It needs competition, it needs experience, it needs to grow. I can't help that it's not seasoned, but I love the ability with what we're working with.

"I think it has a chance to be a phenomenal group."

Much of the concern among outsiders for the line stems from Bob Stoops' comments at the advent of spring practice. Stoops ripped the offensive line publicly for not working as hard as the rest of the team.

"I think when he said that, as a group, we got together one night and discussed it and said, even though there are some young guys on the offensive line, it was time for us to step up and make plays," said redshirt freshman center Ben Habern. "We got motivated through that."

The result appears to be a unit that's turned a corner, at least in work ethic and dedication. By all accounts, the line had a strong spring, better summer and a terrific debut on the first day of practice.

"I think we've progressed well. I know there were questions this spring with the inconsistency," Habern said. "We've only had one practice so far, but I think we looked really good. The more reps we get, the better we're going to be. That's what an offensive line is, five guys working together.

"If we do that, we can be a championship-caliber line."

Whether that comes to fruition hinges heavily on Williams, a preseason All-Big 12 selection who turned down a chance to enter the NFL Draft to come back and anchor the Sooner line. Friday, Wilson praised the talents of Willams, who some believe has the potential to become a Top 10 pick in next year's draft.


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