And it’s Josh Aladenoye.
“He’s the starting right tackle now,” said offensive tackles and tight end coach Bruce Kittle. “So, he’s getting a lot of reps with that first team, and that’ll be a good thing. So, he’s been pressed and learning and growing, so that’ll help us down the road, so he’ll be good.”
One of the prime reasons for that move was seniority.
“Well, one he’s kind of the next oldest guy in and he’s just been around longer and knows the system,” Kittle said. “So, that’s one of the things about Josh. We’ve felt for a long time that he has that potential... So, just him being around, his familiarity, plus his maturity level. He’s been here a couple years now going into his third year, and so we expect more out of him, and he understands our system for the most part.”
But there’s more.
“He’s an extremely strong guy, both upper body, but particularly in his hips and legs,” Kittle said. “So, one of the leading squatters on the team and that kind of thing.”
And there’s also this.
“He runs really well, he moves really well, he does all those kind of things,” Kittle said. “So, it’s really just him building some confidence and, you know, kind of picking up the identity as that starting tackle, making sure all his plays, he knows his limits, that kind of thing and just carrying the day, and I’m really believing he’s going to do a good job of that.”
What comes with that is just knowing all the different blocking schemes, something Aladenoye said he feels confident about.
“I feel like I’m a pretty good, you know, run blocker, come off the ball really good,” Aladenoye said. “I’m getting my pass rush [blocking better]. My pass rush has improved ever since my freshman year, so I feel like it’s getting better every day, just got to keep working.”
And Aladenoye has done that ever since day one.
Consider he came in around 356 pounds and he’s trimmed down to 322 all the while bulking up with his 6-foot-4 frame.
“It was very hard, you know, coming from my high school down here,” Aladenoye said. “I wasn’t used to the work ethic that they put in down here, but I got used to it real quick messing with Schmidty [trainer Jerry Schmidt]. But it’s been pretty hard. Just I always say hard work never kills your body, so I just dealt with it.”
Consider he’s always served primarily in the backup role at OU but maintained his work ethic.
“I’ve always had the mentality where that if you work hard every day, you never know when somebody’s going down,” Aladenoye said. “You can go down now. He could have went down the first game, so I always have that mentality of just got to work hard. You never know what could happen, so it’s just unfortunate that he went down at this point in time, so just got to step in and feel the shoes.”
Expecting him, then, to keep working hard is no stretch.
The biggest adjustment outside of that will really be just fine tuning his game.
“He’s got fast feet and quickness,” said offensive line coach James Patton. “And again, he’s got a chance just to refine some technique with him, and, you know, the things he’s a little bit maybe more stout at the point of attack maybe than Jarvis. Jarvis was quick footed and a really good athlete, and Josh is the same that way. He just needs to play more. He needs to get more reps, and he’s doing that right now.”
The Sooners may have lost an important piece to their 2011 team, at least for the start of the season, but they’ve found what appears to be a viable replacement.
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