February 28, 2007

Spring Preview: Loadholt the key

Spring practices are less than a month away and we're taking a look at the major battles ahead in the months to come. Quarterback, linebacker, defensive end and offensive tackle will be the headline attractions.

But there are several positions looking to replace departing starters. SoonerScoop.com Editor Carey Murdock takes a look at our third position of interest this spring, offensive tackles.

Outgoing Player: Chris Messner - OT
2006 season stats: The Sooners do not publish stats on offensive linemen, but Messner consistently graded out higher than all other lineman from the beginning to the end of the 2006 season.

Most difficult quality to replace: Experience - Chris Messner is the only player departing from the offensive line after the 2006 season. Although he wasn't a dominating force on the offensive line, he was a very calming influence on a very young, but talented offensive line.

The Sooners will be able to overcome that inexperience with such a veteran group coming back in 2007. But his absence does create an interesting hole in the offensive line. With several players to choose from at the tackle position, Oklahoma will have a lot of experimentation going on this spring.

Will a newcomer like Phil Loadholt or Cory Brandon step right in to take over? Or will Branndon Braxton and Trent Williams battle over who makes the move to the left side of the offensive line.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!