In Wick We Trust

Joe Wickline

Last season Oklahoma State was breaking in a new center as Evan Epstein replaced Grant Garner. The Cowboys had also lost versatile Nick Martinez, who joined Garner in training camp with the Washington Redskins. OSU survived just as they always have through the Mike Gundy tenure with offensive line coach Joe Wickline putting together another starting five that kept the offense productive.

Gundy says he will do what it takes to keep Wickline in Stillwater. Everyone from the University of Texas to the Dallas Cowboys to the Indianapolis Colts have tried to lure Wickline away and he stays.

This year, Wickline is needing to replace another starting center in Epstein and four-year starter at guard Lane Taylor, who looks like he will make it in Green Bay as a rookie free agent with the Packers.

"It's been where we've been really lucky in that we've hit on some kids and had some non-scholarship kids and some young kids that have helped us play," said Wickline of the history he has of rebuilding the offensive line to the point that fans take it for granted.

OSU fans even have a slogan, "In Wick we trust."

"All in all, it is something each year that you understand that you're going to lose guys and you have to handle it. You lose one, sometimes you lose two, you lose three, lose a couple during the year and I really think the system helps our guys in spreading the ball out and going fast," said Wickline.

"You get sharp guys, recruit some guys that like the game and get after it. You get to the point that you can be flexible and move some guys around and get them to play earlier than maybe they should play. It's been kind of a good chemistry with all of those things, the offense we have, Coach Glass and how we develop them, the school draws them in, and we have good kids."

This year it appears that Daniel Koenig, Devin Davis or returning tackle Parker Graham could start at the tackles. Brandon Webb will start at left guard. But the other guard could be Graham, who played there some in the spring, veteran Chris Grisbhy, Paul Lewis, or junior college transfers Brandon Garrett or Colin Hegwood. The center will be Jake Jenkins.

"You usually look to your center to be a leader because he is in the middle of it all and he makes all of the calls," Wickline explained. "You like to see your center move forward in that area. He is kind of a first year guy but he has played some and he is doing a good job.

"But when you are a five-year guy like (Parker) Graham, and you have fought through the trenches and been on the plane and in the battle so much, fought through competition and guys to play it's an innate deal and you kind of get passed the baton (of leadership)."

Building depth in fall camp will be a key with guys like Michael Wilson and young backup center Zac Veatch. But this offensive line should inspire fans to continue to "trust Wick."

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