A Look at OU's Line For 2009—Nowhere Near as Bad as it Seems

J. Robert ByromCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2009

Losing four off of a dominate OU O-line is the biggest concern for OU next season.  Look at Georgia last year, they were the preseason number one with their only big question their youg line.  Add injuries to the youth problems and well, they fell apart as soon as they hit conference play.

So, why would we think OU would be any different because they have a mix of top talent, mammoth size and experience starting for them next year.  Lets take a look at their probable starting line next year.

Left Tackle: Trent Williams - believed by some to be the best of last year's line and a possible fist round pick, if he had declared this year and a probable first round pick in next year's draft.

Right Tackle: Jarvis Jones- If his names sounds familiar SeC fans it is because he started half a season for the LSU tigers as a freshman before getting kicked off the team. He has been at OU for over a year without incident and will probably be the starting Right Tackle come September.

Challengers for playing time at Tackle

Cory Brandon - Has been a good backup for the Sooners over his career and no reason to believe he would not be a great starter. 

Jeff Vinson - A JC college transfer from the latest OU pipeline Lackawanna JC in the hometown of The Office, follows the Phil Loadholt tradition of putting an apartmentbuilding from a JC as a bookend for the O-line. Vinson was listed at 6-8, 350 upon arrival but once Smitty gets ahold of him expect him to put on 10 to 15 pounds more muscle over the summer.  

Left Guard: Brian Simmons - has played extensively as a back up and even started a few games for the Sooners over the past few seasons.  I expect him to be put on the left side to provide a strong experienced side of the line that OU can run behind in big situations especially around the goal line.

Right Guard: Stephen Good - a top recruit out of the state of Texas in 2008many recruiting services had him as one of the top three OL the year he came out of High school. He was a five star player and the Gem of last year's recruiting class for OU.

Challengers for playing time at Guard

Alex Williams - A 6-6, 300-pound RS sophomore to be that will provide depth at the position

Tavares Jackson - A community college transfer from Mississippi that had been called a sleeper talent by recruiting services. Like most JC talent no real grading was done on him but You know OU would not offer a JC transfer that they did not believe could help them.

Center: Ben Habern - The NO. 2 rated Center by all three major recruiting services in 2008. Habern has the talent to hold the position for the rest of his career. 

Challengers for playing time at Center

Jason Hannon - Jason originally chose the Oklahoma State Cowboys but a recruiting war broke out for him and he switched his commitment to Texas but somehow through it all ended up at OU.  So, you know with that much hoopla made over him during recruiting he has talent.

So, as bad as it seems for OU at O-line the Cupboard is nowhere near bare with either experience or top talent returning at every position. The O-line will be tested early and often however with games against BYU, Tulsa, Miami, and Texas in the first six games next year

The bright spot is that for the Red River Rivalry, Texas will be breaking in almost a brand new D-line as well so they may not be able to take advantage of OUs youth on the line.

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