Guyton no longer an afterthought
Oklahoma first-year head coach Brent Venables has stressed his desire to not have to rely on the transfer portal going forward.
That initial go-around, though? Venables and staff had to be aggressive, including offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
OU turned over every stone to find who it deemed necessary and who would fit what Venables was attempting to build.
Sooner fans remember the Jan. 15 visit weekend because it’s when the package duo of quarterback Jaxson Dart and tight end Michael Trigg made their anticipated trip to Norman.
Dart and Trigg ended up at Ole Miss, but there was another transfer in that weekend in former TCU offensive tackle Tyler Guyton.
Not a big deal, not a big fuss about his visit. Less than two weeks later, he was a Sooner, but he was still known more for a touchdown catch vs. Iowa State last season than anything about what he could provide at offensive tackle in 2022.
Guyton put his head down and went to work, slowly turning heads in the spring to position himself for bigger and better things when the season came around.
Following the news about Wanya Morris not being available to play the first couple of games, there was the opportunity for Guyton.
He took full advantage of it, starting at left tackle in OU’s 45-13 win in the season opener vs. UTEP.
“It was exciting,” Guyton said. “I feel like I was prepared for it, and I just attacked it head-on. Coach (Bedenbaugh) always tells us to make sure we're ready if anything happens because we just have to get it done.
“I was looking for a starting spot when I got here. All the pressure came on me and I was kind of scared. But I feel like the staff, Schmitty, Coach B, and everybody got me really prepared for that.”
That’s been the staple of Guyton’s college career – just be ready. Recruited once upon a time as a defensive tackle, Guyton was moved to offensive tackle. In a rough spot playing behind Obinna Eze, Guyton toyed with the tight end idea.
Whatever he is asked to do, he does. And as it turns out, he does it to a pretty high ability every single time. Starting his first game at OU was just another example.
“He’s going to play a big role. Hopefully he’s fighting every day to become a starter. That’s what my expectation is,” Venables said. “He’s had a great attitude first of all. Very hungry and incredibly humble. A great worker. He’s created this opportunity for himself by his body of work every day. That’s some of the things I love about him. He’s low maintenance. He wants to be a great player.
“He’s powerful. He’s super long. He’s 6-foot-7. He’s lean. He can really bend and move his feet. Love his attitude. He’s made incredible improvement in a very short window. It’s not like he’s been going to camps his whole life as an offensive lineman. He’s really learning on the fly, but he’s got a great natural ability to do that at a really high level.”
It’s been an accelerated curve at the spot. Not just when it comes to playing left tackle and being familiar with what quarterback Dillon Gabriel likes to do, but building that familiarity with left guard McKade Mettauer.
Mettauer can relate. Guyton was at TCU last year, while Mettauer had been a starter at California the last three seasons.
Some good, some bad, but now the duo has a much better understanding of what they can do headed into Kent State on Saturday evening.
“He’s one of the most athletic guys I’ve ever seen, so I know that he can handle whatever,” Mettauer said. “Whatever edge defender you’re gonna put next to him. All of our combo blocks were very destructive. I just had to hold them up. I just waited for Tyler to come kill this guy in the ribs, so that was good.”
Ask any teammate about Guyton, and athletic is the first word that comes out. It’s that athletic ability that eventually led to that moment in Ames last November.
TCU coaches were trying to figure out a way to get Guyton on the field, Guyton opened that door by showing what he could do at tight end.
“So they threw me in the backfield, threw me at tight end,” Guyton said. “And it was just one day in practice. I was just goofing around. I went and got in the tight end lines, and I just started catching passes. They were just like, 'Hold on, we've got to get you a play.' They made me a play and I went out there and ran it. I got it first time.”
So if Jeff Lebby wants to make that call, Guyton will be ready. Until then, he’s more than happy to be in the trenches and learn from Bedenbaugh.
Guyton wasn’t a fan of Norman last year in TCU’s 52-31 loss to the Sooners. Oh, that feeling has changed, and he’s embracing every minute of it.
“I hated playing against y'all just because we were really close to that student section and everybody is just in your ear talking, doing this and that,” Guyton said. “I actually love playing here. I love the layout of the stadium. I love how I can hear the fans screaming. I love who we are. I love the student section. I love everything about it.”