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While Gabe Ikard and Adam Shead have solidified their spots as replacements for Ben Habern and Tyler Evans, the biggest battle along the offensive line now appears to be that for left tackle. Oklahoma tackles and tight ends coach Bruce Kittle says Lane Johnson and Tyrus Thompson are neck and neck at this point in camp.
"Lane and Tyrus are pretty even as far as that starting spot at left tackle,” said Kittle. “They both have done a really good job and I feel really good about both those guys protecting [Landry]. But yeah, it does tend to be an upper classman kind of guy because it takes that long to learn it. But, the truth is, with where are numbers are and the bodies that we have, I've got two pretty young guys getting ready to start for us so I've just got to coach them up and get them ready. Because we've just got what we got."
Kittle says that as of right now, Johnson may have the slight edge; he started 12 games a year ago at right tackle.
"Right off the bat, Lane went to Florida State and played right tackle for us in that kind of environment and he's never played on the offensive line until we moved him there the spring before. I think without questions that gives him just a bit of an edge. He's been traveled and gone into those hostile environments. He's gone through the whole game thing, two minute offense and that kind of stuff so; I think he does have some of that while Tyrus hasn't been an every down guy in a game yet."
But, Thompson brings his great athleticism to the table; he’s just missing the experience.
"He's playing extremely hard. He brings it every day in our meetings. He's practicing well. He's got a great energy about him and does a great job that way. He's executing the way we would like him to. He's worked hard on his footwork and technique. He's doing all those things and combined with his athleticism he's putting himself in a position to be successful and doing the things that we are looking for out on that edge."
Kittle calls Johnson and Thompson both good athletes, which is exactly what you need at the left tackle spot.
"You've got to be pretty fluid,” said Kittle. “Part of it is with a right handed quarterback and those issues. But defenses usually put their quickest guy on their right side so you are facing their best guy all the time. It takes somebody that can really get off [the ball] and have that kind of movement and adjust to that. The mental part of it can be difficult also because you tend to get a lot of blitzes off of that side. So he's got to recognize those kinds of things and understand all the different protections."
Kittle says that most likely both guys will play equally in the early part of the season.
"We've got a chance to go into UTEP and let those guys get comfortable and see how they do. There's still some more learning and growth to take place."
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Alan H on 8/18/2012 at 10:38 AM
I am not sure the experience Lane Johnson gained at Florida St. should give him any sort of an edge. My recollection is he got used pretty regularly by the FSU d line.
This is my recollection too...Werner was the guy's name if I remember right. He blew by Johnson several times. In his defense, it was his first major road start. I don't remember him having any games nearly as bad as that one.
FSU had a DE that is now in the NFL.
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