Several players will decide the success of the Oklahoma Sooners this fall.
Some Sooners will have more of an impact than others and will be counted on to be the foundation of the 2014 squad. This week we’ll count down the five most important players on offense, taking into account their expected contribution, the quality of their backups and their previous production. On Tuesday we continue with No. 4.
No. 4: Guard Nila Kasitati, junior
2013 role: Kasitati played in all 13 games, starting seven at guard. He brings versatility and a nasty streak to the offensive line. Various injuries have hampered him for a good portion of his career but when he stays healthy, he’s an impact player.
Expected 2014 role: Kasitati should start along the interior and should allow offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to find OU’s best five offensive linemen thanks to his ability to play guard or center. He should be an anchor of the offensive line that sets the tone with his nasty streak in the running game.
Why he’s important: Kasitati is versatile, athletic and tough. He’s been a productive player when healthy. As OU continues to try to be more physical along the offensive line, Kasitati could be the guy Bedenbaugh turns to as the example of what he’s looking for. The junior’s importance is all about the tone he can set for the line and offense in general.
If he was missing: The Sooners have experienced playing without Kasitati and his loss wouldn’t be a season-changing absence but it’s very difficult to replace his mindset and aggressive instincts. OU has other talented guards including Adam Shead, Dionte Savage and Tyler Evans who can fill the void but Kasitati’s attitude would be difficult to match or replace.