Offensive line depth needed
Oklahoma’s depth on the offensive line continues to need improvement, position coach Bill Bedenbaugh said Tuesday.
It’s not that the talent isn’t there, Bedenbaugh said. It’s just a young group that needs to mature.
“The younger guys are getting better. They’re improving. Don’t know that we can win with them right now, but we may be forced to,” Bedenbaugh said. “They’re young dudes. I mean, we got two backups that are freshmen who aren’t quite ready to play. They played in four games up to this point. We haven’t been forced to play them. We’ve gotten healthier … but are they where they need to be? No, they’re not.”
Freshmen E.J. Ndoma-Ogar and Stacey Wilkins have played four games. One more appearance pulls the redshirt off either player.
It can be a difficult balance.
“Yeah, it’s definitely always something we’re thinking about. Ideally, we’d like to redshirt them, but don’t know that we will be able to,” said Bedenbaugh, who added he didn’t insert the pair into the West Virginia game to salvage their redshirt status. ”We had an opportunity to play them, but there’s obviously a chance that will redshirt them. Don’t know that will happen. They’re practicing with us, they’re getting reps, you know all the meetings because, again, we may be forced into that situation where they have to play.”
Bedenbaugh said the offensive line played “OK” in the loss at Kansas State.
Right tackle Adrian Ealy said the line’s play “was OK.”
“But it’s not the standard that we wanted. We know we left a lot on the field and that’s what really ate us up after the game,” Ealy said. “We felt that we left a lot of plays on the field. That’s how we approached the bye week that we don’t leave anything on the field.”
Ealy said there was a sense of urgency at practice this week.
“We had a week off. After a week like that, we were ready to get back on the field. That’s how we’ve approached this whole week,” he said. “Just urgency, everything we do, tempo, everything, just get back on the field and get ready for this game.”
The Sooners host Iowa State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Keeping an eye on Kelly
Coach Lincoln Riley recently said linebacker Caleb Kelly is practicing with the team. With the two-year-old redshirt rule, the senior can play four games and maintain his 2020 eligibility.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said Kelly is “working his tail off” to get back on the field.
“As we go through the remaining weeks, certainly if there’s a role for him or somehow, some way that he can help us and we can help him, then we will make decisions in terms of how many games do you use,” Grinch said. “It kind of changes things with the new redshirt stuff. It’s one thing to be cleared to practice and being full speed ready to go.”
Grinch said Kelly would remain an inside linebacker. In fall camp, he was working at the weak-side position, but Grinch said he can play either inside spots.
ISU has a seasoned QB
OU’s defense has been impressed with Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy.
“He does a tremendous job. What you see is just a cool, confident guy back there. Doesn’t get rattled. Haven’t seen an opponent do that to him,” Grinch said. “So any event, he can make plays with his feet. Extend plays with his feet. Confidence in his wide receivers. Again, the numbers show what they’ve been, and up to this point, been very impressive.”
Said defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins: “When you have a quarterback that can throw the ball as good as he can, you can do a lot with your offense besides just running the ball. His arm will definitely be a challenge for us.”