Oklahoma football: OU O-line a national award semifinalist

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 07: Offensive lineman Bobby Evans
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 07: Offensive lineman Bobby Evans /

All season long, we’ve been praising the Oklahoma football offensive line as one of the best in the nation. On Tuesday, we will find out if they are at least one of the top three.

Tuesday is when the seven semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, which honors the best offensive line in college football, are trimmed to half to three finalists. As you might expect, the semifinalists, which include Oklahoma, are a blue-ribbon list of college football heavyweights.

In addition to the Sooners’ massive offensive line, anchored by midseason All-American Orlando Brown, the O-lines of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Stanford and Wisconsin are vying for the right to lay claim to the title of college football’s best offensive line for 2017 – and back it up with some hardware to prove it.

According to the administrators of the award, the selection process is based on six primary criteria: toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing. In addition, the national sports data analytics service STATS provided advanced data specific to offensive line play to assist the evaluation process.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

As the offensive line that helps power the nation’s best offensive unit, you would think the Sooners have a very good chance of being one of the finalists and potentially winning the award, which will be announced sometime in December during an on-campus visit.

Oklahoma leads the nation in numerous offensive categories this season. At last count, the Sooners were the nation’s best in 12 separate offensive categories, including total offense, offensive touchdowns, pass completion percentage, passing efficiency rating, yards per play and percentage of possessions ending in touchdowns.

You don’t achieve any of that without as truly outstanding offensive line.

Left tackle Brown, who many NFL Draft experts project as a first-round pick, is the leader of the Sooner O-line that also includes center Erick Wren, tackle Bobby Evans, and guards Ben Powers and Dru Samia. Wren is the only senior among the group. Evans is a sophomore and the rest are juniors. This group has made a combined 136 starts, with none of the five having fewer than 20 starts.

What’s more, this veteran group is led by  Bill Bedenbaugh, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, who is one of five semifinalists for the Broyles Award, given annually to college football’s best assistant coach.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but for my money, offensive lines in college football don’t get much better than the one they have this season at Oklahoma.