The biggest spring focus of this group was to stay healthy and intake as much as humanly possible in regards to picking up anything that offensive line coach Lee Hays wanted to implement. The one thing that really struck me as I was working through the table listed below was essentially how young everyone is. There are a lot of sophomores and freshmen in this group.
So, this is a situation where I am most nervous about how this group will be able to play over the course of a Big 12 season. I really don’t know and this is, without a doubt, my biggest question mark heading into the fall season. How well this group can gel over the course of the spring, summer and fall workouts.
Given that Kingsbury went to someone familiar with him in Hays, I think I feel much better about how things will play out, but I’m still generally nervous about what could happen. I really don’t know if I should be worried because they are going to be relatively young and inexperienced. In some ways, I don’t think that this group will be less effective that the group that graduated last year. At the very least, I do think that Hays will have a much more athletic group than the group last year and a more agile group. The question is if this current group will be able to physically whip their opponent in front of them.
Moving forward, it will be about consistency. Finding five guys that will be consistently consistent (yep, I just wrote this) through the course of the season. I do think that the coaching staff tried to give snaps to every available player, but by the end of the spring, you see a handful of the younger players just outperform their older counter-parts.
After going back and re-watching some of the film on Keenan, Kaster and the Morales Bros., I know why they are ahead of Polk and Fortenberry. Not only that, the coaching staff is looking beyond 2013. If the players are relatively equal in Keenan and Fortenberry, you start the guy that has the most potential to improve, and that's probably Keenan at this point. The same goes for Polk and T. Morales, although Polk is just a year older.
Polk's problem is that he's just not great with his feet, and you can say the same thing about Carpenter, but I think Carpenter has more stick-to-it-ness that Polk. I do like the line's ability to be fairly versatile. There are a lot of players that can flip and flop between one position and I don't think that they will lose a beat.
The biggest item that needed repair from now until the fall is the numbers. The depth. There was just 7 or so scholarship linemen that were healthy enough to play this spring. With the addition of four or five offensive linemen this summer, the numbers game should be much better for the team and practices. I have a feeling that the new offensive linemen are going to be the players that will have the toughest time adjusting to the speed of the practices. They just won't get it, unless they are running sprints.
The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the depth and eligibility remaining for returning players. Any year marked black is a year that the player has available. A true freshman has five years of eligibility to include a possible redshirt year.
|Offensive Line Eligibility Remaining|
|62||LT Le'Raven Clark||SO||6-5/303|
|67||LT Matt Wilson||SO||6-6/268|
|51||LG/C Tony Morales||SO||6-3/302|
|63||LG James Polk||JR||6-6/332|
|75||C Jared Kaster||SO||6-3/271|
|72||RG Beau Carpenter||JR||6-6/284|
|56||RG Alfredo Morales||SO||6-3/302|
|77||RT Trey Keenan||FR||6-6/280|
|73||RT Rashad Fortenberry||SR||6-5/275|
A couple of notes about two of the guys that you probably don't know. First, Emiliano Renteria is from Lamesa and was a senior in 2012, so 2013 was his first year attending college and I think that technically, he still have five years left. In any event, Renteria was the field goal kicker for Lamesa (which is an awesome visual), he was first team 12-3A defense his senior year, and Renteria was also the all around boy athlete at Lamesa his senior year. I can't find any video on him, so this is all you get.
The other interesting guy is Bennett Ofor, who is originally from the Houston area, but first attended Midwestern St. from 2010 and 2011. As a senior in high school, Ofor was first team 24-5A at defensive tackle and was in the same district as Dartwan Bush. Somehow, Bush was a defensive end at 255 and Ofor was a defensive tackle at 220. I have no idea.
KEY TO 2013
I mention it above, but just being consistent. There are days where I talk myself into that the offensive line is going to be awful, but then there are days where I think that they'll be just fine. The things that are working in their favor is that I do think that overall, this is a pretty solid group of individuals, they're pretty smart, they work hard and they'll compete every play. Getting those things down is half the battle.
The running backs that they'll have available have had a few years in this type of system to figure out when they need to chip and when they don't. The main targets in terms of receivers are reliable and I do think that this group of players are more likely to get down the field quicker than in previous year. And last, but not least, I think that Brewer is smart enough to adjust his game as he feels necessary. If he's going to have to get rid of the ball quicker, he'll do that. Plus, his mobility is an asset.
If Clark can stick with it at left tackle and handle whatever comes his way from the edge, speed rushers in particular, then Brewer will be fine. I think Clark can handle it physically, he just needs to work on technique. If he can do that, then I think the rest will be pretty easy.