Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Musical chairs with the offensive line

The Offensive Line is where Jags made his reputation. Yet last spring a scheme change, a staff change, and replacing a few TOB starters created more confusion than cohesion. Things should be different this spring as the team has a full season in this zone scheme, a full year working with Jack Bicknell Jr and more of Jags recruits moving into the Oline depth chart.

This year Jags had the luxury of keeping one side of his line intact. With Matt Tennant, Clif Ramsey and Anthony Castonzo returning, Jags had his C, RG, and RT. However, reading this Globe article, it looks like he is going to move people out of their respective comforts zones and into new positions. From what Jags outlined, only Tennant would remain in his 2007 position at Center.

Castonzo's potential move from the right side to the left is hardly surprising. The Left Tackle is the most important spot on the line. Castonzo is our most experienced tackle and potentially our most talented, so it makes sense.

Keeping Tennant in place at Center almost makes as much sense as moving Castonzo. Tennant played well last year. His ability to call out protection at the line will be important with a new QB behind him. Also, Tennant is too small to play the other tackle spot.

The welcome news is Jags projecting Rich Lapham as a starter at Right Tackle. The highly-touted New Hampshire product has been somewhat of a disappointment early in his career. His size and style were more suited to TOB's Gigantor philosophy of offensive line recruits. Slimmed down and more polished, perhaps Lapham is ready to fill his potential.

Jags hinted that the guard spots are wide open. Curiously neither he nor the Globe's writer mentioned Clif Ramsey. Last year's starting Right Guard struggled early in the season, but played well in the final four games. I assumed he would be a sure thing at Right Guard and even a potential candidate at Right Tackle. Despite the slight in the article, I predict Ramsey will be starting this fall.

That leaves one true opening -- the other guard. The likely names to fill this slot are Sheil, Richman or Spinney. Or Jags could convert one of the defensive linemen (Rossi?) or consider the recently converted (Claiborne?) for the open position.

This could all change. Just look at these pictures from last fall. Jags was juggling his starting line in August even as the season approached. Regardless of who is where, the line must play better if BC wants to win the division again.


Big Jack Krack said...

I was wondering about Lapham - he is a large man (6'8", 320 range)and he comes from good stock - his uncle played pro offensive line for 10 years. I have no idea how agile and fast he is - I think that's what this coaching staff is all about. Costonzo is 6'7" and Tennant is 6'4".

So now we have Ramsey, Sheil, Richman or Spinney fighting for a slot in addition to Claiborne who has been converted to offense this year. We don't know about Rossi yet, correct?

We also have Elliott, Schepis and incoming Goodman from Miami who is supposed to be very good. Neumann and Cleary also look good with the incoming Freshman Class.

If this group can come together - it could be another very exciting year. There are a lot of tough teams, and injuries will happen - we will need most of these guys.

I'm really looking forward to the reports coming out of Spring Football.

Big Jack Krack said...

One other thing - I believe that Castonzo is capable of playing left tackle, but is he being asked to put on a little beef? To gain a great deal of strength? I know that he will work very hard, and have good technique and so forth, but he'll be up against the opponent's best rusher, and some of these guys have a great "bull rush". This will be interesting, and I'm rooting for Anthony.

John said...

ESPN top 50 Rookies...Dudley #9 and Williams #11


Also, seeing those pictures reminds me of how much we'll miss Ryan.

Big Jack Krack said...

Excerpts from the Boston Herald

Castonzo, also 6-7, is up to 282 pounds after coming to BC at 260.

“I’m pumped about it. I really am,” Castonzo said before yesterday’s spring practice. “I feel like left tackle is a lot more comfortable for me with the experience I’ve had with it. You’re using the right side of your body more, and I’m a right-handed guy so it just feels more natural.”

“It’s weird because I’ve put on a lot of weight and, just from doing my kick-outs, I just feel it’s going to be a whole heck of a lot different this year, just a lot more comfortable,” Castonzo said.