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Insider

Loss impact: OT Donald Stephenson

2/27/2012

“Loss Impact” analyzes each outgoing starter or rotation player to assess how much his departure will impact Oklahoma next season.

What Oklahoma loses: Donald Stephenson was honorable mention All-Big 12 as a senior. He was durable, dependable and consistent, allowing the offensive coaching staff to have confidence he would hold his own and allow Landry Jones to operate from the pocket for the majority of the game.

Replacing Stephenson, particularly his durability and consistency, won’t be easy.

Who replaces him: Several players could step into his shoes at left tackle including Lane Johnson, Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson.

Johnson is the most experienced of the three, but would require a move from right tackle. He’s only been playing the tackle position for just over a year so continuing to move him around might not be the best plan.

Williams and Thompson each have talent but they are fairly inexperienced. The sophomores will need to show they can replace Stephenson or slide into Johnson’s slot at right tackle.

Impact: Large. Protecting Jones is the top priority of OU’s offense. And the left tackle shoulders most of the burden of protecting Jones’ blind side. One missed assignment or poor technique and the Sooners season could change in one play. It’s critical the Sooners find someone as trustworthy as Stephenson to step in.