NORMAN — Creed Humphrey understands the questions surrounding Oklahoma’s offensive line entering this season.
And while the Sooners’ redshirt sophomore center doesn’t quite play the Aaron Rodgers’ card and tell fans to “R-E-L-A-X,” the message he delivers is similar.
“We don’t really think it’s a concern because we’ve always had these expectations of always being the best group in the country no matter what,” Humphrey said recently. “This offense — our mentality’s built on proving people wrong.”
Oklahoma’s offense has been doing that plenty over the last few years, as the offense has gotten more and more potent throughout Lincoln Riley’s first four seasons in Norman.
Last year, the questions centered around quarterback, and Kyler Murray wound up winning the Heisman Trophy and elevating the offense once more.
This season, though, not only do the Sooners have to replace Murray at quarterback but the rest of the offensive line outside of Humphrey.
That process kicks into high gear over the next couple days as the Sooners report Friday — before Meet the Sooners Day kicks off — before beginning preseason camp with a Saturday practice.
Despite being a starter for just one season, Humphrey is the unquestioned leader on the offensive line. It’s a role Humphrey has envisioned for awhile.
Humphrey didn’t just grow up wanting to score touchdowns — one of his earliest Sooners heroes was running back Adrian Peterson — and win championships in Norman, but he wanted to be one of the ringleaders on the team.
“Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of playing OU football and being a leader on the team,” Humphrey said. “Seeing all that materialize has been awesome.”
Humphrey’s didn’t need to display too much leadership last season on a line that included four experienced players who wound up all being picked in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. But with Bobby Evans, Cody Ford, Ben Powers and Dru Samia all in NFL training camp now, Humphrey is embracing the role.
“As I’m growing up, I kind of realize, ‘I’m kind of made to be a leader. I’m a natural-born leader,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey missed the spring with a hand injury that required surgery but he says he’s 100 percent entering camp and Riley expects a significant on-field improvement from Humphrey.
“He has extreme talent,” Riley said. “He’s a pretty rare talent for the position with combined competitiveness, toughness and a really good mind for the game. There are not many qualities for a center that he doesn’t have. Now, with all that being said, before we anoint him the greatest football player ever, he’s still got a lot that he can get better at.
“He’s hungry to get that done especially with missing the spring. It has been a huge summer for him and it’ll be an important camp.”
Meet the Sooners Day
When: 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2
Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium