Norman, OK - On his way to the Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford rarely was concerned about his well-being when he dropped back to pass.
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With an experienced, mammoth front line in front of him, Bradford was hardly touched by opposing defenders as he threw for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns. In 14 games, the Sooners allowed only 13 sacks - one every 37 pass attempts.
It could take some time to forge a new unit that's as capable of protecting Bradford as the Sooners try to make another run to the BCS championship game - and come away successful this time.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops called out his young offensive line Tuesday at the start of spring practice, using the kind of criticism he rarely aims at his own players.
``Whether it's their work ethic, their attitude, those kinds of things need to improve,'' Stoops said. ``They haven't had the winter everybody else has had. They right now are the weak link of the team and we'll see if they can respond and have any kind of a spring and summer to help us be a team that can contend for a Big 12 championship.
'll be a big part of whether we will or will not depending on their attitude, workout habits, those kinds of things if we'll be able to do it. They've been very inconsistent that way in how they work and their toughness and discipline.''
All-American guard Duke Robinson, all-Big 12 tackle Phil Loadholt, all-conference center Jon Cooper and guard Brandon Walker are gone from the starting five, and top reserve Branndon Braxton's career is also done after his senior year.
Tackle Trent Williams is the only starter back from the line that gave up fewer sacks than all teams other than run-heavy Navy and Air Force. Among those trying to fill the gaps - or create them for Oklahoma's running backs - will be LSU transfer Jarvis Jones and Stephen Good, who was chosen to play in the U.S. Army All-American high-school All-Star game.
But Stoops called the O-line a major issue that the Sooners need to address leading up to the April 18 spring game.
``Just coming to work every day, having a tough attitude, having some discipline to do the things you're supposed to do on the field and off. To this point, they haven't done that,'' Stoops said.
Several Sooners starters will be out for the spring sessions, including running back DeMarco Murray (hamstring), linebacker Ryan Reynolds (knee), defensive tackle Demarcus Granger (back) and defensive end Auston English (knee).
Stoops also doesn't expect Bradford, tailback Chris Brown or tight end Jermaine Gresham to take any contact to reduce the possibility of getting them hurt, too.
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Posted: 3/3/09 11:23PM ET