It was good to see 6-foot-6-inch, 330-pound Matt Reynolds getting reps with the first-team offense during Saturday’s practice, and by the looks of it, he was happy about being back out on the field rather than being inside working on conditioning.
“Before I would come out - you know, last week - they would have me running inside and then I would come out and watch practice,” Reynolds said. “Now that I’m further along they have me going in practice and after the play I would run five or ten yards to keep up with the conditioning.”
In terms of personal preparation outside of staying physically conditioned, Reynolds had become a film junkie, studying those whom he could possibly face in the trenches come game day.
“I’ve watched a lot of film, and it really depends on how much time I have at night, but I’ve watched a lot of film,” said Reynolds. “I try to watch some every night.”
One Sooner that Reynolds has studied is 6-foot-4-inch, 255-pound Jeremy Beal of Carrollton, Texas. Another is 6-foot-3-inch, 260-pound Auston English of Canadian, Texas.
“The defensive ends kind of switch sides,” said Reynolds. “There’s [Beals] and [English] and then some backups. They’re really talented and good players. They’re quick, talented and come off the ball hard. They’re a really good defensive line and think it will be a really good game.
“It will be a good show of how far we’ve come as an offensive line and team come game time. So we’re really excited because it will gauge how far we’ve come as an offensive line, and that’s kind of our focus. We just focus on the things we can control and we get better at the things we need to and let everything else kind of take care of itself.”
While on the sidelines during his time of healing, Reynolds did gain some valuable perspectives on playing the offensive tackle position.
“It’s been hard to watch, but being out here and watching has kept me in it mentally,” Reynolds said. “Being able to watch what goes on at left tackle has helped me keep what I’m supposed to be doing fresh on my mind, so it’s better to be out here than being inside.
“It’s kind of interesting because you take on a different perspective and that perspective is a coach’s perspective. You see what the coaches see and it gives you more of a respect for what the coaches are trying to do, what they’re saying and trying to coach. In that regards it’s been really good.”
So from a coach’s perspective, how does the progress of the offensive line look? According to Reynolds, the line has come along well despite suffering the loss of two of it’s starting players.
“They look really good and they’ve been working really hard to try and keep motivation, to keep coming together and they’ve done a really good job,” said Reynolds. “I think we look good and there are some obvious things we need to iron out and improve on. I don’t think there will come a time where we can stop and say we’ve arrived. I think we will always have to continue to make an effort to improve and iron out the small little wrinkles and come together as an offensive line. I trust the offensive line and think they’ll be able to do it.”
Reynolds is hopeful that he will return to the line to face Oklahoma. In the meantime, the big lineman will continue to go through a light workout with the team until he is cleared by doctors for the season opener.
“We’re really optimistic about the chances,” Reynolds said. “I’ve got one or two more doctors appointments before we say for sure, yes or no. But things look optimistic. You don’t want to come back and risk reinjuring or hurting it worse. It would be better to make sure that it gets completely healed, so that’s kind of the process I’m going through.”