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Friday, August 14, 2009
Converted TE Eldridge enjoys dabbling at center

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

NORMAN, Okla. -- When first asked to play center several practices ago, Oklahoma senior tight end Brody Eldridge had one thought before making his first snap.

"Man, I just hope I wouldn't jam [Sam Bradford's] fingers when I snapped the ball back to him," Eldridge said, chuckling. "[Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson] promised to get the ball in my hands more this season. I guess he really meant it."

Eldridge has been pressed into duty at center for the past several practices because first-string center Ben Habern suffered a lower back injury.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops expects Habern to return to practice early next week and has been shuffling through several potential replacements while his playing time has been was limited.

One of them has been the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Eldridge, who has adapted well to his new position.

"He's the one guy I really hate going against in practice," Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.

If it's any consolation, Eldridge hasn't liked blocking the Sooners' preseason All-America defensive tackle much either.

"He's the one guy I really hate going against, too," Eldridge said. "It's a challenge going against him every day."

The decision to move Eldridge to the offensive line isn't so surprising, considering his adaptability. He has played fullback and tight end during most of his career with the Sooners after starting as a scout-team defensive end. He has never played offensive line before the move.

"I don't mind where they play me," Eldridge said. "Blocking is blocking."

Habern's injury isn't a major concern for the Sooners. Sophomore guard Stephen Good has gotten most of the snaps there with the first-team offensive live the last several days. Senior tackle Trent Williams and sophomore tackle Jarvis Jones also have worked at center.

"It's been a little bit different than playing guard and getting your footwork down," Good said. "The guy is right on you. But I'm getting used to it. I really like it."