Over the past weekend I spent a little time in various bookstores magazine looking for some insight into the coming college football season. Thought I didn’t learn a thing about any of
As a guy who follows
Hurray for fall backs clichés!
Sadly, they’re probably not that far off. But other than generic platitudes about everyone leaving with eligibility left and “new everything” there is surprisingly little information about the people that, you know, will play the damn games this fall. Seriously, don’t people pay for these things to garner information past what a team did the previous year?
The biggest information gap is probably the most important. No one, Steele, Lindys, Athalon, etc… knows anything about the offensive line. I don’t know anything about the line other than Steve Schilling will start, is our best lineman, and is returning to the system he ran in high school (read: Yay!). The rest of the group is a massive, yet talented, question mark. Most magazines don’t even list their names. The Offensive Line has names. Mark Ortmann, Corey Zirbel, Perry Dorrestein, David Moosman, Tim MacAvoy, Mark Huyge, David Molk.
Part of the reason for this confusion is Brian’s well chronicled disparity between talent and production in
However, another reason for this lack of information is pure laziness on the part of the previewers. Just go to Mgoblog and type in “offensive line.” A wealth of information is available on who, what, when, where will play, or at least looked like they’d play this year. I also place the blame for this on failing to at least monitor the local media following
Based on spring practice, at least,
Ortmann has a varsity letter to his name, but was used largely in a reserve role this past year at right tackle. He’s eligible as a junior this year, and should be your starting right tackle in the fall. There’s really not a lot to go on with Ortmann other than his size. He’s played very little with limited success in two seasons. However, he’s also one of the players who had a decent spring when the pressure was put on. I’m guessing he’ll have a rough go the first few games, but at 6-7 with a strength and conditioning regimen not centered on ice cream could grow into a monster tackle. He’s definitely got the feet for it (former high school tight end). Jury’s out, but could be a nice surprise.
Zirbel is a redshirt Junior who saw action in every game last season and is the most experienced returning lineman at
Moosman, nicknamed “the Marmot,” (not really – ed), a redshirt Junior thrust into a starting role despite limited action. At 6-5 and close to 300, he’s a good bet to start at one of the guard spots and could get a shot at center depending on injuries. Moosman was a highly rated lineman out of high school with creepy Tom Lemming rating him the No. 7 interior lineman in his class. Moosman’s got experience as a backup center, but seems ideal for a guard spot with his size and wrestling background (4th in
MacAvoy, yet another redshirt Junior, earned his first varisty letter last season and met with limited success at guard. Tall, rangy, and a little light to be on the interior MacAvoy needs to add some weight to his frame to live up to relatively decent prep billing. It’s worth noting only saw action in five games and didn’t play after the
My guess is O’Neil will probably take over a guard slot this season from MacAvoy or Zirbel (probably MacAvoy). Moosman will be pushed by Molk at center, and Schilling and Ortmann will be more than serviceable at tackle. On talent alone, this is a fairly good group. The bench isn’t too deep, but a couple on incoming recruits should sure up the middle of the line and it seems everyone’s got some experience at tackle.
However, it wasn’t like the spring game was a ringing endorsement of the line. Brandon Graham whipped the right side of the line seemingly at will, before doing his best Unicron impersonation and engulfing Kevin Grady in the game’s best and loudest hit. Even so, the line opened enough holes for Brandon Minor to rush for a pair of scores and seemed to congeal, at least a little bit. A summer of hitting the weights should help prepare these guys for the hell that is a full season in the Big Ten. But then again, nothing prepares you for the first game of the season, especially when it’s your first start. Or for that matter your 30th (re: ASU, dammit). The line will be a work in progress this season, but there is enough talent and capability for you not to jump in front of a bus in distress.
All the information I just provided is freely available on the interwebs. So, before you waste an hour or two pissing off the smelly hippies at Borders, save yourself some time and money and surf the net for