In the weeks leading up to the AT&T Cotton Bowl, SoonerNation will take a look back at how the Sooners performed position by position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we examine the offensive tackles.
Highlights: In shootout wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma State, Landry Jones dropped back to pass 122 times. He was sacked once. Without such spectacular protection from Lane Johnson, Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson, the Sooners do not win those games.
Lowlights: The tackles and the rest of the offensive line figured out a way to overcome a slew of injuries. But in the Notre Dame loss, the Sooners were dominated up front. Jones was sacked twice and the running backs managed just 44 yards on 17 carries. The Sooners couldn’t run up the middle. And they couldn’t produce anything on the perimeter, either. The worst part? Notre Dame dominated while playing only three down linemen.
Surprises: In the spring, Johnson didn’t even start the Red-White game. But this season, the left tackle has played his way into becoming a potential top-three-rounds NFL draft pick. Johnson, a former QB, tight end and then defensive end, has found a home at tackle that could make him a lot of money.
Grade: B+. It has been a good, solid year for the offensive line, including the tackles. All three have proven to be tremendous pass protectors. They could have been a little better in the run game. But when the quarterback is protected, it’s hard to complain.