The task of defensive lines in the Big 12 just got more difficult, as the Texas Longhorns have hired offensive line coach Joe Wickline away from the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a significant coup for new head coach Charlie Strong, according to multiple reports, including from 247Sports and Yahoo! Sports.
According to the latter source, Wickline arrived in Austin on Sunday morning.
Ever since Stacy Searels was hired as the Texas Longhorns offensive line coach in 2011 after Wickline turned down the job, Longhorns fans have been tracking the development and production of the Cowboys offensive line with something approaching outright jealousy.
After all, during the nine seasons that Wickline was at Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy, the Cowboys consistently put up top rushing attacks that made it easy for running backs to dominate -- from 2007 to 2012, an Oklahoma State back was a first-team All-Big 12 selection, in no small part because of Wickline's work.
In fact, the Cowboys have ranked in the top 20 in fewest sacks allowed ever year since 2006 and led the Big 12 in rushing from 2006 to 2009.
Wickline's best work may have come in 2010, when he was able to replace four starters and still helped the offense rank third nationally in scoring and total offense.
A Texas product out of Fort Bend Bush, Okung was the No. 6 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after he was ranked as a three-star prospect and the No. 71 player in the state by Rivals. Now with the Washington Redskins, Garner was also a three-star prospect from Texas who was overlooked by the home-state Horns.
The accolades and accomplishments go on and on for Wickline, for may have done of his best jobs this season, as the Cowboys recovered from a slow start along the offensive line to solidify a spot as one of the league's top teams by the end of the season -- it's clear that Wickline's offensive lines will improve throughout the year, every year.
From recruiting talent to Stillwater to evaluating talent to developing that talent, Wickline is simply one of the best and that fact will tremendously benefit the next Texas offensive coordinator, whomever that may be.
And with three starters along the offensive line gone from the 2013 team, Wickline will need to make his presence felt quickly or the 2014 Texas offense to find success.