When asked how many lineman he would like to have on his roster, OU Head Coach Bob Stoops stated “20”.
The problem is that the Sooners entered 2009 with only 11 OL on scholarship and two of those 11 red-shirted and one (Donald Stephenson) has not been seen in some time.
After losing Brody Eldridge (separated shoulder) and Jarvis Jones (fractured heal) with season ending injuries only six scholarship linemen are healthy enough to hit the field against Texas A&M.
But the coaches plan on mixing in walk-on Brian Lepak and tight end Eric Mensik to add some depth, a situation that’s not ideal, but one that’s now necessary.
Here is a look at who is available to play going forward, but it is starting to look like a dire situation along the offensive front from a numbers standpoint.
Suffered a separated shoulder in the Nebraska game.
Suffered a fractured heal against Nebraska.
Suffered a knee injury in OU’s 45-0 win over Tulsa. Could be back by OSU?
Needed to trim up some and get in to better playing shape to contribute.
Has not been healthy enough to contribute in ’09.
Williams will start at left tackle. He spurned the NFL to come back for another year at OU, but his play so far in ’09 has not been as solid as it was in ’08.
Despite battling a severely painful back injury Habern has established himself as a true warrior along the front.
Good got off to a slow start, but has started at guard for the past three games. He is strong, but inconsistent.
Looks good at times, but sometimes makes some very silly and immature mental mistakes. He has had some penalties that have really hurt.
Jeffries was getting in to some trouble with the coaches a few weeks ago. Now he is much needed, but is also nursing a shoulder injury that could limit his snaps.
Evans earned two starts when a message was being sent to the upperclassmen, but is still a very young player trying to learn a complicated offensive system.
Lepak has been providing time as the back-up center, but injuries have forced him in to action at guard. He was not expected to see live snaps heading in to the year.
Mensik has nice size, but the coaches have admitted that he does not have the desired strength to play along the line, but the injuries have forced him to get a look.