“When I got here Saturday, the first thing I did was recruit.”
Those words must be music to the ears of Sooners fans. That statement was one of several interesting tidbits during new offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh’s time Monday afternoon on Norman, Okla., radio station KREF Sports Talk 1400 AM.
Bedenbaugh, who officially joined the Sooners program over the weekend, talked about the physical, nasty attitude he plans to instill in OU’s offensive linemen, with the goal of making that the foundation of the Sooners' offensive front.
“You try to recruit that but I think you can develop it as well,” he said. “No excuses, you go out and get the job done. Expect yourself to be great. That’s the way I’ve always coached and that’s what I’m going to do here and I expect these guys to respond.”
Bedenbaugh is very familiar with the Sooners offensive concepts with previous coaching stops at Texas Tech, Arizona (with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and Tim Kish) and West Virginia. WVU was his most recent stop as he coached in Dana Holgorsen’s spread offense.
“It’s very similar,” Bedenbaugh said after getting a glimpse at OU’s offense alongside offensive coordinator Josh Heupel this weekend. “There’s a bunch of carry over most of the things they’re doing here, we did at West Virginia.”
Bedenbaugh is hoping to sharpen technique and inspire a finishing attitude among his players with an eye on changing short gains into game-changing plays.
"If you can finish blocks across the board with all five [linemen], those 4- or 5-yard runs are going to become 15-, 20-yard runs, then hopefully break some to the house,” he said.
Yet the most important attribute Bedenbaugh might bring to the coaching staff could be his recruiting prowess. He’s known as a solid recruiter and he already has a plan of approach.
“First of all, I tell them it’s Oklahoma. you have a chance to win a national championship every year,” he said. “I know a lot of schools try to sell that but you walk into this place ... and see the O-linemen who have been through here, the players who have been through here.”
Then once the Sooners' tradition opens the door, Bedenbaugh’s hard-working recruiting approach will come into play.
“You have to develop relationships, get to know these kids, get to know their families, get to know who’s really important in the decision-making process,” he said of his approach to recruiting. “You have to be relentless, it never stops. We’re going to go after the best people in the country. I’m pretty smart, I understand good players are going to make me a better coach.
“For me, [Oklahoma]’s a pretty easy sell, then you just have to work your butt off and outwork people.”
But that’s the future.
Bedenbaugh also has eyes on the present with spring football set to began in early March. The Sooners' offensive line coach is looking forward to getting out on the practice field, getting physical and finding out what he has in an offensive line that features several talented returnees including All-Big 12 center Gabe Ikard and right tackle Daryl Williams.
“That’s when you truly learn about somebody,” Bedenbaugh said of spring drills. “That’s when you really learn the mentality and toughness of a kid. When it’s hot, the second hour of practice, you’re bruised, you’re beaten. Are you going to tough it out or are you going to quit?
“I’m jacked up, I couldn’t be more excited to get out there and start coaching these kids.”