Thursday, July 06, 2006

Position Analysis: Offensive Line

Like last year, this offseason I will roll out a series of position reports to give you my analysis, expectations and hopefully point out something you did not know. This installment covers the Offensive Line. (Read Part I: WRs and TEs here, and Part II: Running Backs here, Part III: Defensive Line here, Part IV: Special Teams here, Part V: Linebackers here, Part VI: Quarterbacks here).

Projected Starters
T -- Ryan Poles, JR, 6’4, 301 lbs
G -- James Marten, SR, 6’8, 315 lbs
C -- Kevin Sheridan, JR, 6’3, 296 lbs
G -- Josh Beekman, SR, 6’2, 325 lbs
T -- Gosder Cherilus, JR, 6’7, 320 lbs

Other guys who should see time
OL -- Ty Hall, JR, 6’5, 296 lbs
OL -- Tom Anevski, JR, 6’4, 301 lbs
OL -- Carlos Huggins, SO, 6’6, 302 lbs
OL -- Pat Sheil, FR, 6’6, 270 lbs

Despite losing two starters to the NFL, the offensive line should be the strength of the team. All three returning starters made various preseason All-ACC and All-America teams. In my opinion Beekman was the team's best player last year and this year Beekman and Cherilus might make up the best right side in the country.

Marten is a very solid performer and should make an NFL roster one day. After auditioning at other positions, it looks like he will return to left guard. This is good. If the new cogs struggle, he may end up at Left Tackle (but I doubt it).

The only positions with any question marks are Left Tackle and Center. After a competitive Spring it looks like the new starters will be Kevin Sheridan (C) and Ryan Poles (LT). Both have plenty of in-game experience.

The Line has been the foundation of TOB’s success and I really don’t expect any drop off in the overall performance of the unit this year. The big guys are consistently evaluated well as recruits, coached well on campus and given schemes in which they succeed. Offensive line play is tricky and we do it better than most. Credit to TOB and position coach Horton.

Like last year, the second team guys should see some playing time. Hall, Sheil, Huggins and Avenski will all be in the mix. If either Poles or Sheridan struggle, Hall is the most likely candidate to become a starter.


In 2004 BC replaced three starters (Hoffman, Snee, and Leavitt). It could be argued that the new guys played better than their predecessors. There is no reason Poles and Sheridan could not outshine Trueblood and Ross, like Beekman, Marten and Cherilus did when they became starters in 2004.

Final Prediction

Trueblood and Ross were very good. Both are going to play in the NFL. However, Beekman, Cherilus and Marten had better seasons last year. After rewatching and grading all the games, I felt our returnees were more consistent than our future pros. I hope that explains why I have no worries about our Offensive Line performance.

I can be very critical of TOB, but he has earned plenty of slack when it comes to this unit. The "Offensive Line U" thing might not last forever, but it will not come apart this year.

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