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The Offensive Line

August 28, 2010

Ever since Rich Rodriguez has arrived on campus, he has made it a focus of his recruiting to create depth, experience and versatility on the offensive line.  Heading into year three, it looks like he has finally achieved that.  For the first time in a long time, we have multiple players who can contribute at every offensive line position, and some potential All-Conference and even All-American candidates as well.  

The interior of the line will be a strength, with returning center David Molk being flanked by guards Steve Schilling and Patrick Omameh.  Molk was the anchor of the line last year before sufering a season ending ACL tear against PSU.  Its not a coincidence that when he went out, the running game headed south for the rest of the year.  Molk is back to 100%, and he’ll be a big lift to the offensive game.  Steve Schilling is a senior guard who should end up as an All-Conference performer.  Schilling has been solid for most of his career, but should be able to take the leap this year and become a standout player.  Sophomore Patrick Omameh came in as a rough specimen at 256 lbs two years ago.  Since then, he’s added almost 40 pounds of muscle, and is ready to help anchor this line.  He has All-American potential down the line.  If any of the three get hurt, look for Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer or Ricky Barnum to step in.  All 3 are capable, though they would represent a small downgrade in talent – not so much because of their lack of it, but because of the high expectations for Omameh, Molk and Schilling.

The tackle positions are currently up in the air, as their is plenty of competition between 4 candidates for 2 spots.  Perry Dorrestein is a senior who played some last year, and is currently trying to hold off sophomore Taylor Lewan.  Lewan is best described as a Jake Long clone – big, lean, strong, and mean.  He’s still a little raw, as he didn’t start playing offensive line until his senior year of high school.   The other tackle spot is a battle between Mark Huyge and Michael Schofield.  Again, Huyge has the playing experience, but Schofield has shown he’s up to the challenge.  In the end, Huyge will probably get the start, but Schofield is a more than capable backup. 

What’s most exciting about this line is that we have 10 guys who all will play, and more importantly, are Big Ten caliber linemen.  This will be a strength this year, and with the way we’ve recruited and the way Greg Frey has coached these guys, it will continue to be a strength for many years. 

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