August 6, 2013

OSU has some holes to fill in the O-line, but key players are stepping up to try and fill them

Lane Johnson, Jonathan Rush, and Evan Epstein all strapped on their pads for the last time in Dallas at the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

When the final horn blew, their eligibility was up, and coach Mike Gundy knew he had a few holes to fill.

Johnson had been a mainstay on the offensive line for numerous seasons at that point, and story was the same with Rush. Epstein was a first-year starter that took over in 2012 after Grant Garner graduated, and was as solid as a center gets for the Pokes.

Now, line coach Joe Wickline has to work his magic again and replace the three, just like he does seemingly every offseason.

There are doubters everywhere that are worrying about the offensive line in Stillwater, but if you ask anyone on or around the team, they don't even think about it as a possible problem when the season opener comes around on August 31st.

"Who are you saying is doubting him," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich joked after practice on Tuesday. "No, I'm just having fun. Year in and year out, we have spectacular offensive line play and I expect the same."

Two names that were passed around quite a bit at Media Day last weekend were Jake Jenkins and Devin Davis.

When asked about Davis, running back Jeremy Smith said he's "That dude", and talked about his power to blow defensive lineman off the ball.

"He's definitely that guy," Smith laughed. "He's a beast, I'll tell you that much."

"He had a great summer," Parker Graham said of Davis. "He's gotten a lot stronger and a lot bigger, and he'll be a great threat for us."

Jenkins looks to fill another hole, and by all accounts has really come on strong since last season.

Defensive lineman Calvin Barnett said that Jenkins "Wasn't the best player" last season, but credited his hard work in the weight room as the reason he's really taken hold of a starting spot on the offensive line.

"Just talking about them makes me smile," Smith said. "Brandon, Jake, all those guys are really coming along."

"You need every position group to get it done in this offense," running backs coach Jemal Singleton said. "The talent up front combined with the rest of our talent gives us a chance to be pretty good, we just have to put it all together."

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