ESPN concerned the Sooners offensive line may be their undoing

The Oklahoma Sooners continue building toward the 2024 football season, their first as a member of the SEC. It’ll be the third year at the helm for head coach Brent Venables.

The Sooners bring back a great deal of production, especially on defense. They have quarterback Jackson Arnold stepping into the spotlight to lead an offense that has its fair share of weapons.

But the question for most of the offseason has been whether the offensive line can hold its own after losing all five of last year’s primary starters to the 2024 NFL Draft and the transfer portal.

It’s a challenge as they head into the SEC, and Dave Wilson of ESPN thinks it could be Oklahoma’s undoing. ESPN’s college football writers shared their spring overreactions in their top 25. While the Sooners have question marks, there’s reason for optimism. Dave Wilson praised the transfer additions on the offensive line and was complimentary of offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

Not ideal heading into its first SEC season. But the Sooners boast one of the top offensive line coaches in the country in Bill Bedenbaugh, who is piecing together transfers from Washington, Michigan State and USC, among others, to pair with young OU linemen. – Wilson, ESPN

Portal additions Geirean Hatchett, Spencer Brown and Michael Tarquin are Power Four transfers, while Febechi Nwaiwu has impressed after coming over from North Texas.

One player the article didn’t highlight was Branson Hickman, another addition in the portal. Hickman looks to be a plug-and-play solution at center for Bedenbaugh and lets Sooner fans relax a little about the interior of the unit. Oklahoma is also developing young, home-grown players up front to help this season and lead the way in the years to come.

Wilson went on to write that if Zac Alley and the OU defense can keep the team from becoming one-dimensional, Seth Littrell and the offensive staff will have time early in the season to scheme their way around any growing pains on offense.

Bedenbaugh remains the constant for the offensive line. His expertise can be further validated if he rebounds from the losses and turns 2024’s unit into a force.

It might just mean Oklahoma has a special kind of season in Year 1 in the SEC.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire