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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Bedenbaugh's words already in action

By Brandon Chatmon

NORMAN, Okla. -- Just days after he was hired to coach the offensive line at Oklahoma, Bill Bedenbaugh was candid about his plan of attack for the recruiting trail.

"Recruiting is relationships," he said in February. "I know everybody says that but when you offer a kid you have to know everything about them, their coaches, their counselor, their family. And then understand who is going to be involved in the decision."

Ty Barrett
OU coach Bill Bedenbaugh has been relentless in his pursuit of three-star offensive tackle Ty Barrett.
Recruiting is considered one of Bedenbaugh’s strengths and was a key reason coach Bob Stoops picked him to replace James Patton and Bruce Kittle, the duo who coached OU’s linemen in 2012. Bedenbaugh was announced as the Sooners' new offensive line coach Feb. 17.

In the past few months, he has transformed his words into action on the recruiting trail. A closer look at three offensive line prospects reveals his words coming to life.

Bedenbaugh quote No. 1: "How does a guy play? You can’t watch a 10-play highlight and figure out a guy’s toughness. Everybody makes a mistake, but you watch a guy get beat, how does he respond to that? Does he go in the tank? Does he let that linger and get beat the next three plays? That’s a sign of toughness. Are you finishing blocks, or are you content getting in a guy’s way?"

Offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) had seen little to no interest from the Sooners before Bedenbaugh arrived in Norman. A few months later, Dalton has an OU offer and has made two trips to campus. He has played offensive tackle in high school, but Bedenbaugh and the Sooners are recruiting him to play center or guard.

In Dalton’s highlight film the reason for the Sooners’ offer can be seen in his consistently staying on blocks and driving defenders into the ground -- the toughness Bedenbaugh alluded to in February.

Bedenbaugh quote No. 2: "You have to be relentless, you have to talk to them all the time and you have to make them understand how important they are and how much you want them here."

Offensive tackle Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline) can attest that those words from Bedenbaugh were much more than just talk. While Barrett boasted an OU offer before Bedenbaugh arrived, the Sooners' new offensive coach has taken the program's pursuit of the Dallas native to another level.

Hand-written letters from Bedenbaugh have become quite common in Barrett's mailbox and the relationship between the two appears to get stronger every day. Relentless would be the perfect word to describe Bedenbaugh’s pursuit of the 6-foot-5, 310-pound prospect.

Bedenbaugh quote No. 3: "Don’t worry about who you’re recruiting against. We have as much to see as anyone in the country."

The offer list for junior college offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (Rockaway, N.J./Lackawanna College) screams elite prospect. Florida State and Ohio State were among the programs who had offered Eluemunor when the Sooners initially threw their hat into the ring.

Bedenbaugh was hired in mid-February, and within a week Eluemunor had an OU offer. Safe to say the 6-foot-5, 300-pound tackle has his name written in pen on Bedenbaugh’s priority list and the coach didn’t care who else was in pursuit of the highly regarded prospect. It’s a good thing because Eluemunor, who is originally from London, now boasts more than 20 offers.

As soon as he arrived at OU, Bedenbaugh used strong words to sketch a road map that showed his plan to improve the Sooners' offensive line. In just a short time, though he doesn't have any commits yet, it's already obvious that plan is in action on the recruiting trail.