Gabe Ikard Limited in Spring Practice for Oklahoma Sooners

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners are making some changes on their offense for 2013, using the athletic talents of the quarterbacks on their roster to use more quarterback runs in a spread-option style of attack. There are some questions as to how well the system will take off in year one, and those concerns may get even louder with starting center Gabe Ikard limited during spring practice.

While the coaching staff works feverishly to implement their new offensive gameplan, the captain of their offensive line will miss valuable reps this spring as he recuperates from a broken hand. He injured the hand on the first day of spring practice and will be held out of team drills for the remainder of the spring season, though he will continue to participate in individual drills.

Ikard figures to be a prominent piece of the Sooners’ offense next fall as he represents one of their most experienced linemen on the roster. Originally recruited as a tight end, he started 12 games at left guard during his redshirt freshman season. He then started all 13 games during his sophomore year, splitting time between guard and center. Shortly before last season, Ben Habern chose to end his career due to chronic injuries, putting Ikard into the starting center position full time.

In all, he has started 37 games for the Sooners along the offensive line. With the change in philosophy next season, however, he’ll be forced to adjust his game to accommodate the heavier emphasis on the running game. Missing the team drills and scrimmages will be a major loss for Bob Stoops and the Sooners’ offense this spring, but the injury could give them opportunity to build depth behind Ikard for next season and beyond.

Ikard will remain mentally checked in as the Sooners work through their offensive adjustments for 2013, but will missing the live reps put him behind the curve next fall?

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