Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Preseason breakdown: Offensive Line

I am going to take a slightly different format with the position breakdowns. Up first: the offensive line.

Consensus heading into the season
Everyone agrees that the offensive line should be the strength of the team.

Roster Reminders

It is a fairly balanced depth chart.
Returning Starters

-- Thomas Claiborne
-- Anthony Castonzo
-- Rich Lapham
-- Matt Tennant
Backups and Hopefuls
-- Ian White
-- Mark Spinney
-- Nick Halloran
-- Mike Goodman
-- John Wetzel
-- Nathan Richman
-- Emmett Cleary
-- Keith Bourne

Everyone wants to know who will fill the LG position and what the latest scheme change will mean for the line. I am not worried about either. Clif Ramsey was all conference last year, but whoever fills his shoes will be bookended by two of the best linemen to come through BC in Tennant and Castonzo. As for the new coach Sean Devine, he's considered a good teacher and has worked the zone scheme before. I think he will keep the OLine U tradition going strong.

Real Question

When will Nathan Richman be healthy? Richman -- one of the favorites to fill the open starter position -- still has a gimpy ankle. It looks like his absence will open the door for...

My bold prediction

Emmett Cleary will start at LG and make the ACC's All Freshman team. Cleary looked a little spotty in the spring game, but there was good buzz about him during his redshirt year. He probably could've played as a true freshman if we had needed him. Say what you will about Jags, but the guy had a good eye for line talent. He thought Cleary could be as good as Castonzo. I am on the bandwagon and think our leftside will dominate this year.

What keeps me up at night

Rich Lapham's consistency and Matt Tennant's shotgun snaps. Lapham improved throughout the year but he was still the unit's weak link. Hopefully his footwork has improved and he's little more focused. Tennat's shotgun snaps were a bit of an issue last year, but I don't think it will be a problem this year since we'll have QBs under center more often this year.

This should be the best line in the conference and could be the best in the country. Injuries and newbies could upset the applecart, but I am predicting great success. I think Devine is a promising coach and but how this unit gels will be the first real indicator if my hunch is true.

We'll have plenty of time to worry about other parts of this team, but the offensive line is going to be very, very good.


BCMike said...

Awesome post, Bill! You know you're a BC die-hard when the write-up of the OL gets your blood pumping....

CT said...

Off-topic: Charlie Davies goes down in history by scoring against Mexico in Mexico City this afternoon. The 4th American player to score at Azteca stadium. Ever. Pretty cool.

Of course, with little technical skill, the U.S. comes from ahead to lose 2-1.

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