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By LARRY VAUGHT
Question: Has offensive coordinator Neal Brown always been one to say that a lineman can be a playmaker, too?
Offensive line coach John Schlarman: “He has always been a proponent that it all starts up front. We love that as offensive linemen and you hear that with coachspeak, but Neal takes a very active interest in the offensive line and making sure that our technique and our calls coincide with the quarterback and what the running backs are thinking, too. He knows it is a collective unit but that it starts with the guys up front.”
Question: How good does that kind of thinking from the coordinator make linemen feel?
Schlarman: “It helps. It probably gets to be like a broken record from me over and over on them. But when they hear that from coach Brown or coach Stoops, they say, ‘Hey, maybe we do have a key spot on team and what we do is important.’ You don’t always read about it in the paper. We have just as big a battle at center as quarterback, but that doesn’t get on the front page all the time. It is good to hear from other coaches as well as from me.”
Question: Do you and Brown talk about naming a No. 1 quarterback and center at the same time?
Schlarman: “We have not coordinated anything like that, but I would not be surprised if the two kind of came hand in hand. It gets to a certain point where you get a lot of guys work, but you get to where you have to get that first five ready to go out there and execute for first game. When you get to that point, it’s time to go. You get a guy you feel good about and you move forward.”