2016 Recap: Yo, Bedenbaugh
Pound for pound, the best assistant on Bob Stoops’ staff right now might be the guy coaching the offensive line.
Bill Bedenbaugh inherited a messy position group from predecessors James Patton and Bruce Kittle in 2013. Recruiting across the line fell off the map in the three classes preceding Bedenbaugh’s hire, leaving him a solid starting five for his first season and an array of question marks after that. In the four classes since then, he has landed just the right mix of instant-impact players and longer-term projects. Meanwhile, the fact that he has been able to get so many young bucks ready to contribute in short periods of time illustrates the quality of instruction he offers his players.
The 2016 season represented some of Bedenbaugh’s finest work. He made lemonade out of the injury to stellar guard Cody Ford early in the year, taking the opportunity to mold Ben Powers into one of the best newcomers in the Big 12. He also got a scholarship-level effort at center out of former walk-on Erick Wren. Lastly, he may have identified OU’s next great tackle in Bobby Evans, OU’s redshirt sophomore to be.
Overall, Bedenbaugh and his linemen deserve high marks for the ‘16 campaign.
Story of 2017: Too deep
The Sooners return everyone of consequence on the line. The only loss: little-used offensive tackle sam Grant.
Add in the return of Ford with OU bringing back all five of its starters, and it’s possible that this will be the best offensive line in the country this fall.
Orland Brown will get all the pub, but keep an eye on Evans’ development this year. Ultimately, both may end up cashing generous checks from NFL franchises.
The other guys: Sounds like it's going swell for Swenson
Redshirt freshman Erik Swenson definitely has one of the more interesting recruiting stories of any player on the team. You may remember him as the four-star prospect out of Illinois whose plight put Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh under the microscope for allegedly going back on his word to a verbally committed player.
Getting negged by the Wolverines, however, might have kicked Swenson in the ass. The buzz out of Norman regarding his development has all been positive.
Swenson might not get more than mop-up duty this season. As it stands now, though, he could position himself for significant time on the field in 2018.