Most indispensable player: Oklahoma

May, 24, 2013
We're walking through each Big 12 team and identifying its most irreplaceable talent. He's the guy they can least afford to lose, and the guy to whom an injury or departure would have the most effect.

Let's move on with Oklahoma.

More most indispensable players.

Most indispensable player: OL Gabe Ikard

Why Oklahoma can't afford to lose him: This was a tough pick, and I narrowed it down to three players: CB Aaron Colvin, LB Corey Nelson and Ikard. Oklahoma doesn't have any All-Americans on this roster in terms of pure talent, so it's tough to look at one player and say, "Man, if Oklahoma loses him, they're a completely different team." There's just not a guy like that on Oklahoma's roster.

Still, I point to Ikard because he's held down Oklahoma's offensive line together even as it was trimmed to a razor-thin unit. It was a unit basically reduced to five guys that couldn't afford to sit for exhaustion or injury at the end of 2012. He's the most talented player on the Sooners' offensive line and showed some versatility by moving over to center from left guard last year following Ben Habern's injury in preseason camp.

With a new quarterback, strong play up front on the offensive line is a must-have. That's going to make life easier on any quarterback, but the gap between an inexperienced quarterback with a good offensive line and a poor offensive line is enormous. That extra second or two in the pocket can be the difference between 10-15 percent of third-down conversions to keep the ball, move the chains and put points on the board. Ikard's the biggest key and most experienced member of the Sooners' line with 38 career starts entering the season. Oklahoma simply can't afford to lose him. It just might be the difference between an eight-win season and an 11-win season.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons and Durrett: OSU scandal

Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Longhorns talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Barkley on Manziel

Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Kirk Herbstreit

Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Andy Dalton

Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.

Galloway and Company: Manziel talk

Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dez Bryant sounds off

Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dan Beebe

Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.