O-Linemen Not Sexy But They Are Effective

Center Jake Jenkins

HOUSTON - The quarterback situation was the biggest story Saturday, and now Mike Gundy has said it's not a two quarterback system. Then you have the defense with one of the more impressive outings in years. However, Oklahoma State fans have coined a saying, "In Wick we trust," meaning they trust offensive line coach Joe Wickline to put together an offensive line that will get the job done.

It happened again in Reliant Stadium. It didn't start off so good as the OSU offense stumbled around early.

"You know, that first game you have to work out the kinks. You know you have those little kinks in the armor," said senior left offensive tackle Parker Graham. "We just kind of banded together and knew if we didn't panic then we were going to end up making it work."

The change of quarterback helped although the offensive line never allowed a sack, before or after the change, and they did open up some running holes.

In the end it did all click. J.W. Walsh, who came off the bench to lead the offense on three scoring drives and a late first-half drive that resulted in a blocked field goal, said it was that second quarter where the offense got it in gear.

"I think it was toward the second quarter when we got that first touchdown drive and everybody kind of got in their comfort zone," said Walsh. "The look in their eye, you could tell everybody had just buckled down.

"The blocking was unbelievable today, on the perimeter and the o-line. When you can run like we did today you have to have great blocking. It was a special day for us running the ball. Everyone was getting their blocks and we were mashing down."

Mashing down were Graham; left guard Brandon Webb; center Jake Jenkins (who really played well seemingly controlling his guys inside and making good calls), right guards Chris Grisbhy and Travis Cross, and right tackle Daniel Koenig.

They played well and they played together.

"If all five of us can get on our guys then something can break really far, and that happened a lot today," said Graham of the influence of Walsh's running ability. "We were pretty fortunate to have that today."

"That was one of the big things we were working on through the spring and in fall camp, perimeter blocking and inside blocking," said running back Jeremy Smith, who blocked well and ran for 102-yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. "If you get those things down big plays will happen."

It was kind of forgotten as soon as it was reported that left tackle Devin Davis tore his ACL in fall camp and Graham had to move back to that spot from guard. The line had some adversity but in Wick and those young men, J.W. Walsh and the running backs could trust.

"(Chris) Grisbhy and Travis (Cross) both and this being the first start they were both going to have that thing with the bright lights and it's a big game, but they came to play and I think they both did good," added Graham. "I think when we look at the video we'll see some mistakes and we'll get that cleaned up and come back better next week."

Yes, they will only get better. While conducting a postgame interview with Parker Graham, a senior member of the line with the most starts, Travis Cross asked in the locker room when his interview was coming. Graham just rolled his eyes and said, "Travis, c'mon."

The good thing is Travis and Grisbhy are following those guys right down the road to good offensive line play that many have traveled before them. With depth on the docket to develop the offensive line looks good enough that they can be ignored again and just trusted to do their job. That's exactly what good offensive linemen do.

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