Biggest concern facing the Oklahoma Sooners in 2021

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As the 2021 college football season draws closer, one of the biggest concerns facing the Oklahoma Sooners is the offensive line with the departures of Creed Humphrey and Adrian Ealy to the NFL draft.

Both Humphrey and Ealy were anchors in the trenches protecting Oklahoma’s franchise quarterback. The two effectively ran OU’s bread and butter- the counter pull. Due to stellar offensive line play in recent years, three quarterbacks have either won the Heisman Trophy or been a runner-up for the prestigious award: Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts. In 2020, Humphrey and Ealy were staples in providing Spencer Rattler with a clean pocket.

Humphrey was the centerpiece- commanding the playbook, calling out protections, and notifying teammates know which defenders to pick up at the line of scrimmage. Ealy faced the best run-stoppers in the Big 12 and now the vacant positions must be filled. Bill Bedenbaugh produces elite players up front, paving the way for Lincoln Riley’s explosive offense.

This upcoming season, the guards will stay the same with Marquis Hayes starting at left guard with Tyrese Robinson on the right. At center, there is competition for Humphrey’s replacement between Robert Congel and Andrew Raym. Tennessee transfer, Chris Murray also provides depth in the middle. Erik Swenson is projected to start at right tackle with Anton Harrison as backup depth and Wanya Morris starting at left tackle, with Stacey Wilkins next on the depth chart.

The continuity and consistency for Oklahoma’s offensive line will be critical in 2021. In order for the passing/running game to be successful, the O-Line has to win one-on-one matchups to give Rattler time to release the ball and to open up running lanes for rushers. The front unit will set the tone on offense and their productivity will dictate the success of the Sooners’ season. Oklahoma is poised for another Big 12 title and coveted National Championship, and the offensive line is the key.