May 11, 2007

Patton likes tackle position after spring

This spring was very different for James Patton as offensive line coach at Oklahoma. Last year Patton took over only to find seven lineman ready to compete during the 15 spring practices.

But this spring was exactly what Patton was looking forward to when he took the job at Oklahoma. He had talent and depth up and down the roster. He didn't have to baby his players day after day just to get them through each practice. He was actually able to pull players in favor of others if they weren't performing up to expectations.

Patton is a very passionate football coach and he's also very encouraging in how he deals with his lineman. But his enthusiasm was noticeable when asked about the progress of his offensive tackle position following spring practices. Editor Carey Murdock breaks down the position following spring practices.

Phil Loadholt - Loadholt was derailed like an 18-wheeler with a bad axle during spring practices. Loadholt suffered a stress fracture in his foot after only five practices and sat out the last 10 practices.

With toughness being such an issue in the past, you had to wonder how OU coaches would look at Loadholt's absence from spring practices. But after talking to Patton, no one in the Switzer Center coaching offices is worried. They saw enough from Loadholt during offseason workouts and five spring practices to make them think he will be the answer at left tackle.

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