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Offensive linemen Roundtable
OU's big men talk football, life and their unbreakable bond

All too often the work done down in the trenches goes unnoticed. The final boxscore doesnít recognize it, the fans are too busy watching the guy with the ball and the media headlines almost always single-out the skill players.

Such is the life of an offensive lineman, whose blood, sweat and tears are the very foundation upon which most offenses are built.

Sooner Spectator likes to recognize the guys in the shadows every once in a while, so we recently caught up with some of the big fellas and got their thoughts on a variety of topics.
Hey, letís give some credit where credit is due.

Sooner Spectator: What is your favorite thing about playing on the O-line?

Jon Cooper: You get to hit somebody every play. Itís the only position on the field where you get to do that. If you donít hit somebody when youíre playing offensive line, you did something wrong that play.

Brandon Walker: Hitting people. I like hitting people and getting nasty.

Cory Brandon: Itís like weíre always grinding. We donít ever take a day off and weíre always at the center of every play.

Trent Williams: The physical play, just knocking people around.

Phil Loadholt: I like getting to hit someone every single play. You gotta like that.

Brian Simmons: Just being able to know what is about to happen, knowing that you kind of control everything.

Duke Robinson: You get to smash somebody. Thatís definitely my favorite thing.

SS: Does it ever bother you to see all of the headlines go to the glamour guys, or is that just something you get used to with time?

Walker: You get used to that playing offensive line. We know nobody likes us but the people weíre blocking for. We take a lot of criticism and donít hear a lot of positives, but itís just something that comes with the position.

Robinson: When I was growing up, my people always told me if you do your job and block like youíre supposed to do, they are going to have to mention you at some point. Thatís what I try to do. Weíre really not looking for the glamour, we just like to maul and smash defenders.

Williams: Itís not so bad playing in the shadows, that way there isnít as much pressure. You just go out there and handle your business every day, and itís all good.

Simmons: You get used to it. I tell little kids who are playing our position that weíre the hardest working men in show business. The only time you really hear much about us is when we make a mistake. But itís all good.

Loadholt: All the skill guys on this team do a great job of letting us know when weíre doing a good job. Thatís all that matters to us.

Cooper: We really donít mind it. We donít like the spotlight being on us. To be honest, we donít play offensive line for the glory and we kinda like flying under the radar.

Brandon: That doesnít bother us at all. We take it all with a grain of salt and keep playing. Weíre playing for our team ó thatís all we care about.

SS: Who is the meanest, toughest guy in this group?

Loadholt: Iíd have to say weíre all mean to a certain point. Iím not going to get after any of these guys.

Robinson: (laughing) Me, man. Iím the big dog.
Williams: Honestly, weíve all got a little mean streak in us. You have to have that. You definitely can be nice and play offensive line.

Brandon: Oh, No. 70, me, of course.

Cooper: Iíd say Iím the toughest. The meanest might be ó we all got a mean streak ó but Iíd probably say Brandon Walker.

Simmons: Iíd probably say Brandon Walker.
Walker: Oh, itís me. I definitely have the shortest temper out of the group.

SS: What is more difficult ó run blocking or pass blocking?

Williams: Iíd say run blocking is a little tougher because youíve got so many different things youíve got to look for coming off the line.

Brandon: Itís all the same to me. Youíve got to be physical at both.

Cooper: It really depends ó I enjoy run-blocking more because you get to come off the ball and you arenít sitting back waiting for them to come to you.

Simmons: Run-blocking comes natural to most offensive linemen. I used to play defense, so Iíve got a difference approach. I look at pass-blocking like boxing and thatís where my money is at. I know I still have work to do on my run-blocking.

Robinson: Run-blocking comes natural to me. With pass-blocking youíve got to sit back and wait for the guy, punch the guy and move your feet at the same time.

Walker: Probably pass-blocking. We run the ball a lot and run-blocking is natural, so Iíd say I need to work more on my pass-blocking.

Loadholt: Theyíve both got their ups and downs. Iíd probably have to say Ďrun-blockingí is a little tougher because youíve got to know all of your assignments instead of just having the one guy to block.

Editor's Note: This is a portion of the Q&A that appears in the Fall 3 issue of Sooner Spectator. Subscribe today by calling toll free 1-877-841-8877 or subscribe on-line!