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Texas Tech Depth Chartin' :: The Offensive Line

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Previously on Texas Tech Depth Chartin' :: The Quarterbacks :: The Running Backs :: The Receivers ::

Overall: First things first, Chris Olson will be a backup at just about every position. I only have him as a backup at left tackle, but truthfully, he'll probably back up every position and if any newcomer struggles, then I could see Olson step in just about anywhere and any position. I'd still consider right tackle and right guard to be somewhat of question marks and I feel fairly confident in left tackle, left guard and center. Still, this team will be replacing three starters for the second year in a row. This team went from 5th in the nation, giving up 1 sack per game in 2008 to giving up 2.38 sacks a game, good for 87th in the nation. For those of you keeping score, the offensive line gave up 13.0 sacks in 2008 and 31.0 sacks in 2009. For those of you who are curious, the Troy Trojans gave up 13.0 sacks in 2009 (tied with Texas Tech) and 25.0 sacks in 2009 (60th in the nation).

I think you'll see more movement in the backup roles and Tuberville has spoken about how he'd like to get players that are smaller than 6'5" or 6'7" to play the guard and/or center positions, i.e. 6'2" or 6'4", which I don't think is a big deal and might actually a bit of a benefit, especially considering that other than Potts and Sheffield, there's not a quarterback taller than 6'3" on the roster.

Follow me after the jump.

Left Tackle

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Terry McDaniel 6-7/335 SO Starter
Chris Olson 6-5/296 SR First Backup
Kyle Clark 6-5/277 RS FR Second Backup

Who Is Gone: No one.

Who Is Still Around: Terry McDaniel: By the end of the year last year, McDaniel was re-habbing his knee and getting back into playing shape. McDaniel played in five of the first seven games and despite being a redshirt freshman, there was no question, at least in my mind, that McDaniel could be the left tacle for this team for four years. McDaniel tore up his knee against Nebraska (I think) and I'm incredibly hopeful that McDaniel keeps all of the quickness he displayed as a redshirt freshman. McDaniel had the requisite size and strength to dominate this position for a long time and although I'm probably being incredibly optimistic, he could be headed to the NFL if he stays healthy (and there's no reason to believe that McDaniel won't stay healthy as I think this is McDaniel's first injury).

 

Chris Olson: Olson finished the year as the starting left tackle, but I think that McDaniel is the superior player. As mentioned above, I could probably list Olson as the backup for every position, but for now, we're going to limit him to left tackle. OL coach Matt Moore has stated a number of times that Olson is one of the most versatile players he has and has the ability to play any position, including center, along the offensive line. That type of versatility will get Olson plenty of playing time this year. The thought that there won't be one position that won't struggle probably isn't realistic, but what I do believe is realistic is the thought that if that happens, there is a senior who is more than capable of filling whatever role is needed.

Kyle Clark: Clark was the highest rated offensive lineman coming out of the 2009 recruiting class. He was redshirted all of last year as he was a bit small (weighing in at 267) to be considered for very much playing time in 2009. Clark still projects to be a very good lineman and Moore compared Clark to LG Edwards (discussed below) and I think he trained at left guard all of last year, but I could see Clark playing either position on the left side of the ball and considering Olson is a senior, I think the thought of having a player that is capable of playing either guard or tackle, I think Clark is the guy for that job.

Left Guard

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Lonnie Edwards 6-5/290 JR Starter
Blake Emert 6-5/287 SO Possible Starter
James Polk 6-7/290 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: No one.

Who Is Still Around: Lonnie Edwards: Edwards was by far and away, the best offensive lineman on the Texas Tech line last year, and yes, I'm including Brandon Carter. After not starting early, and not even seeing the field against Houston and Kansas St., Edwards went on a fairly convincing run of excellent play and absolutely nailed down the left guard spot for the next two years. The only thing I'll mention is that if there's another spot along the line that needs help, I could envision a situtation where Moore may want to move Edwards around, but I think I'd prefer to see Edwards simply stay at the left guard position.

Blake Emert: I'll fully admit that I don't know much about Emert. In fact, I don't think Emert has seen one snap, special teams or otherwise, during his time at Texas Tech. This is yet another reason why Olson is truly a backup at a handful of positions because overall, the line is pretty thin.

James Polk: I still haven't seen any film on Polk, although I know it's out there. Polk fits the old mold of the type of player that Moore wanted and although putting him here is the exact opposite of what Tuberville wants out of his line and Moore commented that Polk is the perfect size for a tackle, but the guard positions are pretty thin at this point and the way that Moore moves players around, I wouldn't be surprised to see Polk start out at guard and eventually move to a tackle position.

Center

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Justin Keown 6-4/302 SR Starter
Joel Gray 6-6/306 RS FR First Backup

Who Is Gone: Stephen Hamby wasn't a world beater, but he was pretty good. When we talk about replacing linemen, I think Keown replacing Hamby is one position where I think it's at least a push, and possibly an upgrade. FR Matt Goetz was dismissed from the team at some time during the year. I guess this is one of those situations where I'm not sure if we'll miss him if he never truly made an impact, but Goetz's departure led the staff to have to move some players around because the center spot is a bit scary.

Who Is Still Around: Justin Keown: For whatever reason, I thought that Keown was going to struggle, but after seeing him play last year while Hamby was injured, I was honestly more impressed with the way that Keown played than Hamby. It's a shame that Keown will only have one year under center, and I have my doubts that Gray will see any time at center, but I think Keown is going to be a keeper and probably better and more consistent than Hamby.

Joel Gray: Gray is here out of necessity. I've watched film on Gray and he seems too tall to play center, not that he's clumsy by any means, but he's freaking 6'6". As mentioned earlier, Tuberville is going to start moving to smaller linemen at the guard and center position and I think that Gray is merely a placeholder for the time being. Gray played left tackle in high school, got out of his stance fairly quickly, and if it weren't for Clark, I think that Gray could be the left or right tackle of the future. And this isn't to say that I don't think that Gray can play the center position, because I think he has the intelligence to do so buat at this point, I think it's about being able to get low enough to be effective.

Right Guard

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Mickey Okafor 6-7/310 SO Compete for Starter
Deveric Gallington 6-4/350 JR Compete for Starter
Aleon Calhoun 6-7/315 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone:  Brandon Carter was a constant at the right guard for two years, although Moore tried him out at left tackle, right tackle and just about everywhere else, but the truth is that he was probably best suited to always play the right guard position. I think he'll be missed, but I think Moore will have quality options at this position.

Who Is Still Around: Mikey Okafor: Coming out of high school Okafor was one of those athletes that was more than just a big body, he was actually pretty athletic and just needed to add some strength and a bit of size. Okafor is also pre-dental, which means that he's already smarter than me. The thing that worries me about Okafor or Gallington is that last year, when Okafor needed to take over for Carter, he was noticably not as good as Carter. Last year, Okafor was only a redshirt freshman and I'm hoping like hell he's watching film from the Kansas game where he and Waddle helped QB Seth Doege get pounded in the first half. There's improvement that needs to happen here, but it's not as if Okafor doesn't have the ability.

Deveric Gallington: The thing that bothers me about Gallington is that he was beat out by a redshirt freshman. Gallington obviously has the size to play the guard position, but I'm thinking that he may not have the quickness to play. At the end of the day, I'm hoping that both Okafor and Gallington push each other this spring and fight for this job.

Aleon Calhoun: Ideally, I think Calhoun is set up to be a right guard. Just an absolute beast of a human, he's not the most mobile guy in the world and has a bit of trouble getting off the ball, but I'm hoping that with the emphasis on the quickness and conditioning, that Calhoun will be able to adjust smoothly.

Right Tackle

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
LaAdrian Waddle 6-6/350 SO Possible Starter
Joe King 6-6/319 SO First Backup
Beau Carpenter 6-7/275 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: Marlon Winn struggled his senior year. I thought last year that he was absolutely going to have the opportunity to make a name for himself. Winn took too many plays off and it was Winn that allowed the hit on Potts during the Texas game. I liked Winn as a person, but when he took plays off, it was awfully detrimental to the team.

Who Is Still Around: LaAdrian Waddle: If Moore is willing to remove a redshirt on an offensive lineman then I'm intrigued. Waddle wasn't highly recruited, but he was good enough to pass over King. As mentioned above, Waddle struggled against Kansas, but he must have shown something in practice for Moore to take off that redshirt. He gets out of his tance incredibly quickly and if he's done anything over the offseason, then I'm guessing that he's going to be fine at right tackle. With most young players, it's about consistency.

Joe King: King is one of those players that I've seen, but didn't have a strong opinion either way. He wasn't awful in last year's spring game, but he wasn't great either. King is one of those type of players that's been under the radar and obviously passed over by a younger player. If King can't pass Waddle, then maybe King eventually changes positions.

Beau Carpenter: I'm very excited about Carpenter, although the one thing I worry about is that he put on quite a bit of weight from his junior to senior year. Carpenter has always had a large frame and I'm guessing that his ability to put on weight was more of a matter of maturation and hard work more than anything else. Not to mention, Carpenter is already on campus and going through workouts, which means he's already graduated from high school. It may take Carpenter a year or two to get adjusted, but there's something to the fact that he wants to get on to campus and start to work.