Bye Week Breakdown: Best assistant coach

With Oklahoma on a bye week, the SoonerNation staff is spending the week looking back on the Sooners' first nine games by answering 10 questions. View the archives here.

Which Oklahoma assistant coach has done the best job through the first nine games?

Offensive line (center and guards) coach James Patton

The units of Jay Norvell (receivers), Bobby Jack Wright (defensive ends) and Willie Martinez (defensive backs) have all played well, but what Patton has done with the interior of the offensive line has been tremendous. And he’s had to do it without his best and most experienced player, center Ben Habern. Gabe Ikard has been OU’s most consistent blocker all season and made a seamless transition from left guard to center when Habern went down. Left guard Adam Shead, meanwhile, is a budding star, and right guard Tyler Evans has been grading out at a winning level every week.

- Jake Trotter

AP Photo/Alonzo J. Adams

Senior Frank Alexander has 7.5 sacks on the season.

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright

Wright has done an incredible job and it’s paid off for OU’s defense as a whole. Frank Alexander is among the national leaders in sacks with 7.5 and Ronnell Lewis has become a dominate defensive end with 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Wright’s work really comes to the forefront with the play of backups David King and R.J. Washington. That duo has played so well defensive coordinator Brent Venables devised a defense featuring four defensive ends in an effort to get all four players on the field together. Elite starters and “starter-like” reserves speak to the superb job by Wright.

- Brandon Chatmon

Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez

Based on expectations, most thought the “sharks” were going to be the weak link of the Sooners. There have been some struggles, notably against Missouri and Texas Tech, but the secondary has some playmakers. When healthy, a backfield of Demontre Hurst, Jamell Fleming, Aaron Colvin, Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris is not a bad thing. Numbers won’t always tell the story with this group. Because OU is usually nursing a healthy lead, opponents are throwing the ball a lot in the second half and racking up yards that don’t affect the outcome of the game.

- Bob Przybylo

Running backs coach Cale Gundy

When DeMarco Murray graduated, the Sooners had to replace Oklahoma's career all-purpose yard and touchdown leader. But Gundy's group has actually improved its yards per game average this year to 165 rushing yards per game, good for 50th in the country. Gundy deserves a ton of credit for seeing the talent in walk-on Dominique Whaley, who was a revelation before breaking his ankle, and for motivating sophomore Roy Finch who has filled in valiantly for Whaley.

- Dane Beavers

What do you think? Which assistant coach has done the best job so far?