Fall camp has opened for Oklahoma Football and outside of the quarterback race the competition for center is one of the biggest unresolved issues for the offense.
The battle seems to be a two-man race between Jonathan Alvarez and Creed Humphrey. One is looking to make a significant impact at the end of his Oklahoma career and the other is looking to be a multi-year mainstay on the offensive line.
“I think it’ll kinda depend on how that battle (centers) goes, too, almost the same way in the quarterbacks (no set timetable),” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said after Friday’s opening practice. “But do they have some influence on each other? Yes, although you know, both of our quarterbacks have to be able to play with both of our centers.”
Riley certainly isn’t ready to make any decisions after just one practice but the importance of the position can’t be understated.
“Certainly, once you get starters and if those guys stay in place, they’re gonna develop a good rapport like Bake and Eric did here over the last couple years,” Riley said. “Those positions can change in one play so you want the relationship and the closeness and those guys, of course, on the same page. But you also understand that they’ve gotta be interchangeable.”
Alvarez, a redshirt senior, started 10 games in 2015 and entered the 2016 season as the starter before being replaced by Erick Wren. In all he has 13 starts to his name and was among the 58 players on the 2018 preseason watch list for the Rimington Award as the country’s top center.
Redshirt freshman Creed Humphrey is no joke though. The 6-5/325 product from Shawnee, OK was able to keep Alvarez from separating himself through the spring and is now making a significant push for the starting job in fall camp.
247Sports had Humphrey rated as the third best center in the country coming out of high school and he’s certainly shown that he’s a scrapper while at Oklahoma.
The longer this position battle goes the more it favors the youngster here. I see it going nearly all the way to game week which means, in my mind, that Oklahoma is going to have a four-year starter in the middle of the offensive line.