NORMAN — Oklahoma went hunting for experience in the transfer portal.
While Brent Venables and Jeff Lebby did an excellent job of preventing a mass exodus via the portal, the Sooners still lost a combined 147 starts along both lines of scrimmage to the NFL. Seventy-five of those starts were along the offensive line, as left guard Marquis Hayes and right tackle Tyrese Robison both moved along to pursue professional aspirations.
Bill Bedenbaugh acted quickly, however, as the Sooners landed the commitment of transfer guard McKade Mettauer before the Alamo Bowl had even kicked off.
A three-year contributor for the California Bears, Mettauer started 28 games at guard before transferring to Oklahoma.
Coming back from the West Coast, Mettauer is familiar with the emphasis placed on football at OU. Growing up in The Woodlands, TX, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound guard was excited to return to a place where football is a high priority.
He did still feel he had to prove himself to his new teammates in the spring, which is why he got right to work diving into the playbook and doing what he could to speak up and play a leadership role.
“I think I’ve done a good job of acclimating myself to the new offense,” Mettauer said last spring. “Since I’m an older guy, I’ve learned offenses like this before so I’ve been able to teach some of the younger guys. Even when I wasn’t out on the field, I’ve been able to prove myself and climb the ladder a little bit.”
Mettauer built on his impressive spring throughout the summer, Bedenbaugh said, and he’s stood out in the offensive line room even though he’s a new face.
“I love how he works,” Bedenbaugh said ahead of OU kicking off fall camp. “Smart guy. Passionate. He’s been a leader. He came in here and led from the beginning.”
His new teammates have responded to him as well.
Redshirt sophomore Andrew Raym was impressed with how quickly Mettauer settled in, and he said he already counts him amongst one of his better friends on the team off the field.
“McKade came in and made himself a man from the start and he’s been helping us,” Raym said. “He’s going to be a great addition to the team this year.”
Like many others in the offensive line room, Bedenbaugh said Mettauer changed his body a bit this summer under returning strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt.
Though he’s still listed at the same playing weight as his days with the Bears, Bedenbaugh said there’s a noticeable difference between Mettauer’s body from the start of spring ball to the start of fall camp.
“He’s getting a little bit bigger, a little bit thicker, which he needs,” Bedenbaugh said. “I don’t think it’s gonna hurt his athleticism. But really, really smart dude. Plays hard. He’s consistent. So I’ve been impressed with him.”
Through the spring, Mettauer said he flip-flopped sides of the offense line and worked mostly at left guard. With an entire spring and summer to adjust to the move from right guard, Mettauer’s presence means there won’t be much of a drop-off in experience on the left side of the offensive line when he’s slotted alongside Anton Harrison.
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