February 9, 2007

Stoops still not happy with Oline numbers

It was just a year ago when onlookers witnessed an extraordinary event during Oklahoma spring practices. Oklahoma's newly hired offensive line coach, James Patton, walked into his new position and stared at seven faces.

They were the faces of his entire collection of offensive lineman. And one of those players was a defensive lineman, Brian Simmons, who had just switched over to the offensive side of the ball. No coach expects to take over one of the most critical areas of a football program only to find seven players waiting to welcome him.

Well, no one outside of a small-town basketball coach named Norman Dale.

Patton came to one of the most tradition-rich programs in the country and found a program nearly void of players. It was a rough spring on Patton, but even more so for the seven offensive lineman who played through every snap of the spring.

Heading into the 2005 season, offensive line depth had been a problem at Oklahoma for quite some time. Some players failed to pan out, others just walked away from the game. Quality depth has never been a luxury Oklahoma has enjoyed since Bob Stoops' arrival.

But former offensive line coach Kevin Wilson set out to change that during the 2006 recruiting class. Wilson had been criticized by some fans for Oklahoma's lack of depth at the position.

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