Oklahoma Senior Guards Heading to Senior Bowl


Oklahoma’s offensive success over the past two seasons is highlighted by the genius of offensive-minded head coach Lincoln Riley and the duo of Heisman contending quarterbacks. The transcendent level of play of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray accentuate the thrills of Riley’s offensive scheme.

In Mayfield’s Heisman season, he threw for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns to six interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 198.9 and a completion rate of 70.5 percent. This season, Murray has hit 70.6 percent of his passes for 3,674 yards with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has also added 853 rushing yards and 11 more touchdowns on the ground in 12 games.

Undoubtedly, the quarterback play has been a vital reason for the offensive success over the past two seasons for the Sooners. Though the well-deserved quarterback love from the media, the offensive line has been criminally underrated. The Sooner offensive line unit surrendered 26 sacks last season but have only allowed 14 so far in 2018.

Experience and size have been two characteristics to describe the skill set of Oklahoma linemen in years past. Those two characteristics can be used to describe two more Sooner offensive linemen that are headed to the Senior Bowl in January.

Ben Powers (6-4, 315) and Dru Samia (6-5, 302) officially accepted their Reese’s Senior Bowl invites on Nov. 29. Both placed on the All-Big 12 first team and Samia shared the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honor with two others (Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia and Dalton Risner, Kansas State).

Powers, Samia and the rest of the offensive line unit have helped lead the nation with 7.0 yards per rush attempt and protected well enough to have the second highest yards per pass attempt at 11.6. According to SoonerSports.com, “The Sooners average a would-be FBS-record 8.9 yards per play, have totaled 300 passing yards and 300 rushing yards in a game five times this season (all other Power Five teams have combined for three such performances) and are the only team in the country with at least 30 rushing touchdowns (39) and at least 30 passing TDs (38).”

Samia thrives off the snap with attractive extension. He uses his length to combat with defensive linemen and uses a violent punch to win off the initial move. Samia plays with active hands and is rarely fazed by quick movements from his matchup. His hand strength is one of his biggest tools as he shows the ability to jolt defenders and prevent any passage way to the pocket through handwork. His hand technique is sporadic but he finds way to keep the defender in front of him with quick hand movement and a powerful anchor if losing the upper body battle.

Samia has the anchor to play in the sand and absorb contact. He doesn’t play with consistent pad level and can be considered a waist bender, but he does not fall victim to losing power because of it. The senior shows off a steady kick slide with enough lower body quickness to pickup delayed rushers and any edge presence. He doesn’t possess elite lateral quickness but shows enough change of direction skills to seal off the edge as a pull blocker or in open space at the second level.

Powers embodies the description of an unmovable object. His powerful base absorbs nearly any force thrown his way being able to consistently anchor. Powers uses appropriate hand placement to keep leverage and consistency throughout his play.

The senior left guard does his best work in pass protection by quickly shooting out his long arms gaining instant extension. He will occasionally be late with his punch and will have to find ways to churn out the play with sheer strength. Powers plays with a powerful grip to keep defenders locked up when engaged. He is a reliable pulling blocker being able to constantly hit his target being in the appropriate position to pave way for the back.

Both guard prospects thrive in Oklahoma’s offensive system giving them opportunities to pile drive defenders and gain a head of steam and seal off the edge with power. It’s easy to fall in love with the elite-level numbers that the Oklahoma has put up this season, as the offense ranks first in the nation in both total (583) and scoring offense (50.3). But even with the eye-popping vertical passing plays and the rushing chunk plays, the offensive line creates its fair share of highlights each week and it starts with Powers and Samia.

Feature Image: Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman

Christian Page is a scout and writer for Cover1.net. His scouting experience dates back to 2015. Christian has a background of radio along with collegiate athletic department experience and corporate marketing.