NORMAN — He trotted onto the field against Texas A&M in his nameless No. 69 jersey, prompting some to wonder if the Sooners’ injury woes had finally forced Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops to pull a fan from the stands.
Stoops hadn’t, but when the season began, reserve tight end Eric Mensik and a fan pulled at random might have had similar odds of starting on the offensive line for the Bedlam game. Weeks after serving mop-up duty in a blowout win over Texas A&M, Mensik did.
Left tackle Trent Williams suffered a concussion days before the matchup with OSU, forcing incumbent right tackle Cory Brandon to shift to the opposite side.
And when the stadium’s public address system announced the starting lineups, that No. 69 wasn’t nameless anymore.
"He was one of our players of the game,” Stoops said.
Mensik has remained at tackle through pre-bowl practices, but Stoops said he’ll likely return to tight end next season.
Whether he starts another game or not, he’ll never be strapped for a story to tell decades later.
He’s the guy who patched together a busted-up offensive line, replaced an All-American and was a big factor in the Sooners’ 27-0 win over OSU.
"I went out really nervous,” Mensik said. "But stuck with what the coaches told me.”
One of those "coaches” was roaming the sidelines in a neck brace. Senior Brody Eldridge entered fall camp as the backup tight end and started the season opener at center before later getting his first start at right guard against title-game participant Texas.